Uncertainty over Black Sea exports due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a 47% rise in prices for Argentine sunflower oil in less than two weeks following the start of the conflict, The Hindu Business Line quoted from a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Uncertainty over Black Sea exports due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a 47% rise in prices for Argentine sunflower oil in less than two weeks following the start of the conflict, The Hindu Business Line quoted from a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In its March report, Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade, the USDA said the Russian invasion, which began on 24 February, had created uncertainty for oilseed and product exports, and had significantly impacted global markets.

USDA’s forecast for March represented an initial assessment of the short-term impacts of the conflict, The Hindu Business Line wrote on 10 March.

Sunflower oil prices have been increasing since the situation in the Black Sea region deteriorated in late February, with sunflower oil prices in Argentina reaching US$2,250/tonne as of 8 March, the USDA said.

In early February, sunflower oil had been well-positioned to increase its share of global trade and consumption against a backdrop of high prices for rival oils, the report said. However, sunflower oil was now more expensive and less accessible than substitutes.

With Ukraine currently accounting for 86% of European sunflower oil, the conflict is likely to cut the supply of sunflower oil in the current crop year, according to a report by the Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) on 10 March.

If imports from Ukraine were to stop completely, the European Union (EU) would face a serious supply problem, UFOP said.

Against this backdrop, UFOP urged policymakers and representatives from the agricultural industry to take stock of the supply situation and, in this context, also fully assess price increases in the food sector.

Meanwhile, UK edible oil supplier KTC has stopped all new sunflower oil sales due to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, The Grocer reported on 8 March.

KTC was working with suppliers to see if there was a possibility of more EU origin sunflower oil, or increased supplies from Argentina, according to the report, although this would take time and the market would still be short.

The company, which operates from sites in Wednesbury and Liverpool, said there was uncertainty about whether sufficient quantities of alternative oils such as rapeseed and palm could be sourced.