November 15, 2011
By 2015, about 75% of China's vegetable oils will be sourced from imports compared with 72% this year, according to an industry expert.
The domestic output of vegetable oils is likely to remain limited by a lack of farmland and low yields, said Wang Yinji, deputy general manager of COFCO, China's largest oils and grain trader.
"The gap between domestic production and consumption of vegetable oils will further widen to 23.2 million tonnes by 2015," he said.
However, the annual growth rate of domestic consumption of cooking oil will probably slow to 3-5% in the next five years, from an average of 5.85% in the past decade, mainly due to a slowdown in urbanisation and industrial growth, as well as uncertainty in the global economy, said Wang.
He pointed out that potential imports will still focus on soy and palm oil. China's soy imports, which account for more than half of the globally traded volume, fell 5.4% from a year ago to 41.52 million tonnes in the first 10 months of this year, the latest customs figures showed.
Meanwhile, general director of Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group Chen Xiwen said it is very difficult for the government to control and regulate prices of soy complex and edible oils due to very low self-sufficiency rates.