The premium enjoyed by Brazilian soyabean oil over its Argentine counterpart has been lost following the government’s decision to allow soya oil imports as a feedstock for biodiesel, AgriCensus reported on 19 November.

Argentine crushers, meanwhile, had continued to suffer from a lack of selling by farmers, AgriCensus said.

Prices for Brazilian soya oil, which traditionally traded around US$15/tonne higher than Argentine soya oil – had surged in August due to a shortage of supply, leading to record volumes of soyabean exports.

Demand for soya oil had also increased due to rising biodiesel production, AgriCensus said.

Soya oil imports in Brazil had increased five-fold so far this year at 625,518 tonnes, official customs data showed. These were only for food use and not biodiesel production, AgriCensus said.

That policy had now changed following Brazil’s “ANP (Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency) decision to allow the use of imported raw material for the production of biodiesel in public auctions,” Brazil’s official gazette reported on 18 November.

Meanwhile, Argentine crushers had been struggling to source soyabeans from farmers who remained reluctant to sell them due to the political situation, AgriCensus said, and this had led to a slowdown in crush operations.

Argentina was expected to crush around 38M tonnes of soyabeans this calendar year, down 9.5% on the year, limiting the supply of the oil, according to the country’s oilseed crushing and exporters chamber Ciara-CEC.