The 2022/23 U.S. soybean oil export season has seen its slowest start to a marketing year since FAS began reporting weekly progress in 1990. Outstanding sales were a mere 27,900 MT (61.5 million pounds) as of Oct. 20, while cumulative shipments totaled 3,989 MT (8.8 million pounds).

Outstanding sales largely belonged to Canada and Mexico, while other usually reliable trade partners were absent from the market. South Korea, for example, had purchased almost nothing this season as of Oct. 20, and it was the same story with Central American countries.

The U.S. may struggle to hit USDA’s current projection of 635,000 metric tons (1.4 billion pounds), but this is not really a surprise because domestic demand for soybean oil is red hot.

If Argentina sees a rebound in soybean production this year—USDA is projecting the crop at 51.0 MMT, up from 44.0 MMT in 2021/22—the country may be able to export at least 5.7 MMT of soybean oil. This level of exports would be a nice recovery from last year and help return the world soybean oil stocks-to-use ratio to above 8 percent.

Outstanding U.S. soybean oil export sales by season

Source: USDA


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