Declining world vegetable oil stocks has provided underpinning to edible oil prices in the United States and around the world. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its latest Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade report issued Jan. 12 forecast world vegetable oil ending stocks in 2011-12 at 12.24 million tonnes, which, while up 0.23 million tonnes from the December projection was down 0.43 million tonnes, or 3%, from 12.67 million tonnes in 2010-11 and down 1.2 million tonnes, or 9%, from 2009-10.

Soybean oil is the principal vegetable oil used in the United States. The U.S.D.A. forecast world soybean oil ending stocks in 2011-12 at 2,650,000 tonnes, up 6,000 tonnes from the December outlook but down 363,000 tonnes, or 12%, from 3,013,000 tonnes in 2010-11 and compared with 3,088,000 tonnes in 2009-10. If the forecast for the current year is realized, world soybean oil ending stocks in 2011-12 would be the smallest since 2,560,000 tonnes in 2003-04.

Palm oil is the most important vegetable oil in world trade. The U.S.D.A. forecast 2011-12 world palm oil ending stocks at 5,180,000 tonnes, down 141,000 tonnes from the December projection but up 95,000 tonnes, or 2%, from 5,085,000 tonnes in 2010-11. Global 2009-10 palm oil ending stocks were 5,383,000 tonnes.

World rapeseed oil (canola oil) ending stocks in 2011-12 were forecast at 975,000 tonnes, down 64,000 tonnes from the previous year and the smallest since 770,000 tonnes in 2007-08. Ending stocks were smaller still in 2006-07 at 470,000 tonnes. The U.S.D.A. forecast 2011-12 world sunflowerseed oil ending stocks at 1,898,000 tonnes, up 178,000 tonnes from 2010-11 and compared with 1,782,000 tonnes in 2009-10.