Reuters examined how a perfect storm of production headwinds, including labor shortages, heatwaves and vermin infestation, is driving collective stocks of the world’s most consumed edible oils – palm, soybean, canola (rapeseed) and sunflowerseed – to their lowest levels in a decade. In Malaysia, which accounts for around 33% of global palm oil exports, many plantations were harvesting with two-thirds or less of the required workforce, after government coronavirus restrictions cut off the usual supply of migrant workers from Indonesia and South Asia. Meanwhile, farmers in western Canada planted canola into some of the driest soils in a century this spring, sending canola futures to all-time highs in early May. The pressure on stocks is already feeding through to consumer prices and the upward trend is expected to continue, especially as refiners lift prices to cover the surge in raw material costs.
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