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Palm oil, soyoil - will they prove oilseed stars in 2015?

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It was a weak 2014 for vegetable oil prices, which were undermined by strong US production of soybeans, and of palm oil itself, in which Indonesia is particularly solid growth.

World palm oil inventories will end 2014-15 at 7.80m tonnes, according to the US Department of Agriculture, up more than 600,000 tonnes year on year.

While US soyoil inventories have managed decent year-on-year falls, according to data from the NOPA industry group, it has taken depressed prices to get the vegetable oil away, with soymeal, the other main product of processing soybeans, more in demand.

But will soyoil turn the tables on soymeal this year? And can palm oil reverse its stockbuilding to improve its own price prospects?

Palm oil


"The recent drop in vegetable oil prices is over-extended.

"We believe that the palm oil market is likely to receive some support on the back of the usual seasonal dip in production expected through the winter months.

"Although El NiƱo has been relatively weak so far, dryness has started to spread through Indonesia, threatening palm oil output next year, which may help prices to recover."


"Palm oil prices are expected to improve in 2015, driven by rising demand as well as constrained supplies due to dry weather in 2014. The incremental supply of non-soy oilseeds is expected to remain constrained in 2014-15.

Rabobank palm oil price forecasts, 2015

Q1: 2,250 ringgit a tonne

Q2: 2,300 ringgit a tonne

Q3: 2,265 ringgit a tonne

Q4: 2,230 ringgit a tonne

Prices: quarter average, front Kuala Lumpur futures contract

"Stocks are expected to be marginally lower in 2014-15 compared to the previous year, following slower production growth and improved demand.

"Stronger demand from emerging economies will support prices as economic prospects improve. Palm oil demand will stay firm relative to supply growth, and is expected to grow by 8% in 2014-15.

"Biodiesel demand remains an uncertain swing factor, as lower crude prices limit vegetable oil use and weigh on palm prices. Crude prices will need to move up from current levels to create additional demand for vegetable-oil based biodiesel."


Futures International

"January soybean meal is seen in a wide $340-380 a short ton trading range, and January soyoil in a 30.65-33.40 a cent range.

"We like soyoil over meal over the medium term on declining US soyoil stocks."


"Soyoil has been the weakest member of the soy complex for most of 2014, but that is likely to change in 2015. As noted above the market structure should work in favour of the oil share.

"After dipping to new lows on December 2, soyoil prices have traded back into what appears to be a bottoming trading range.

"On further weakness in soybeans, we think it is more likely that the meal will join it than soyoil.

"March soyoil has resistance at 34.00 cents a pound and a recent low of 31.41 cents. The Olympic average retracement of the past 10 soyoil futures price cycles suggests a futures low of 30.83 cents suggesting limited downside price potential in soyoil.

"The oil share basis the July contract held the November low and in the longer term, could rebound to 37.5% in late spring if soybean meal prices decline as we expect."


"Soyoil is once again the third wheel of the soybean complex as soymeal retakes the price lead.

"The combination of soyoil's share of the crush recovering from multi-year lows set in 2014, and low stocks, have given the soyoil market hope for 2015 prices.

"Still, we project prices to be relatively steady in 2015. Record soymeal export demand, resulting in a high US crush rate, will build oil supplies.

"Combined with a less robust demand from the biodiesel sector, this is putting soyoil prices under pressure.

"The price premium of soyoil to palm oil has narrowed lately, and we expect this trend to continue."


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