The vegetable oil price index of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) surged by more than 4% in December 2016, reaching a three-year high, reports Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP).

However, the index was still far below its January 2011 record.

The FAO price index tracks the changes in international prices of the 10 most important vegetable oils in world trade.

UFOP said prices for vegetable oils had risen considerably over the past few months.

“In December 2016, the vegetable oil price index reached the highest level since July 2014. It was especially driven by the rising prices for palm and soyabean oil over the past year. Palm oil prices benefited from low global stocks and the continued shortage of supply.

UFOP said that according to information published by Agrarmarkt Informationsgesellschaft mbH, prices for soyabean oil firmed substantially in the wake of the recent poor weather conditions in key exporter Argentina and increasing demand from the biodiesel industry in Argentina, Brazil and the USA Brazil and Argentina.

“Since its lows in 2015, the index soared by more than 36%. At 183 points, the December 2016 index was up 4% from the previous month and just under 30% year-on-year.”