The U.S. is using more tropical oils than it was a couple years ago, although the increase is concentrated in palm oil products. Using volumes removed from stocks for use in processing as a proxy for monthly utilization, we see April palm oil use dipped from March but was still elevated year on year. Utilization for edible purposes has averaged around 226 million lbs per month since last June, leading to a notable decline in stocks. Palm kernel oil (PKO) utilization is now around coconut oil levels, and PKO seems to be holding onto volumes gained during H1 2020, when some users substituted it for coconut oil.
Coconut oil utilization began slipping in 2019, and the drop off in use accelerated in 2020, when PKO managed to gain a price advantage. After months of weak coconut oil imports, utilization has drawn down excessive stocks accumulated in 2019, however, and March-April coconut oil use surpassed stocks volume.
Imports of palm and coconut oils during Jan-Apr were lower than average, while PKO imports were slightly higher, thanks to robust volumes in January and April.
Monthly volumes removed from stocks for tropical oils
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