USDA maintains 2022-’23 forecast for soybean oil use in biofuel

By Erin Voegele | March 08, 2023

The USDA maintained its forecast for 2022-’23 soybean oil use in biofuel production in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, released March 8. The agency also slightly reduced its outlook for season-average soybean oil prices.

The USDA’s current outlook for U.S. soybeans for 2022-’23 is for higher exports, lower crush and reduced ending stocks when compared to the February WASDE. Soybean exports are raised 25 million bushels to 2.02 billion based on higher-than-expected shipments through February. Soybean crush is reduced on a small reduction in domestic soybean meal disappearance combined with a higher extraction rate. With higher exports more than offsetting lower crush, ending stocks are reduced 15 million bushels to 210 million. If realized, ending stocks would be the lowest in seven years.

With relatively strong domestic demand for soybean oil limiting export competitiveness, U.S. soybean oil exports are reduced 200 million pounds to a historically low 500 million. Higher domestic use and reduced production are offsetting, leaving soybean oil stocks unchanged.

The USDA currently expects 11.6 billion pounds of soybean oil to go to biofuel production for 2022-’23, up from 10.348 billion pounds in 2021-’22 and 8.92 billion pounds in 2020-’21.

The U.S. season-average soybean price forecast for 2022-’23 is unchanged at $14.30 per bushel. The soybean meal price is forecast at $465 per short ton, up $15. The soybean oil price is reduced 2 cents to 66 cents per pound.

Globally, soybean production for Argentina is lowered 8 million tons to 33 million on dry and hot weather conditions. Uruguay soybean production is also lowered 200,000 tons to 2.1 million. Global oilseed trade is up 1.9 million tons to 199.9 million on higher rapeseed and soybean exports. Soybean exports are higher for Brazil and the United States, and imports are higher for Argentina to partly offset production losses. Soybean imports are also raised for Iran and Turkey.

Global 2022-‘23 oilseed crush is lowered 3.3 million tons to 526.3 million, mainly on a slower-than-expected soybean crush pace for China and lower available soybean and sunflowerseed supplies for Argentina. Global soybean ending stocks are lowered 2 million tons to 100 million, with lower stocks for Argentina, Brazil, and the United States that are partly offset by higher stocks for China.