Biofuel feedstocks suffer as sunflower supplies from Ukraine dry up
Shipments of sunflower oil - and seeds used by crushers elsewhere - have ground to a halt amid the war, disrupting supplies of the commodity used in biofuel production.
The shortage of Ukrainian sunflower oil has triggered a domino effect that underscores how interconnected global commodity markets are pushing up the price of other oils produced elsewhere.
About 80% of sunflower oil exports come from Ukraine and Russia. Exports from Ukraine have fallen 95% due to Russia’s attack.
Globally, around 15% of vegetable oils are turned into biofuels because of government subsidies and mandates.
For instance, the European Union converts around 3.5 million tonnes of palm oil into biodiesel each year, almost equivalent to the amount of sunflower oil exported by Ukraine and Russia. Suspending or ending biodiesel subsidies could increase the amount available for food use.
Kim Matthews, commercial director at Edible Oils, told the BBC: "So obviously, with everything going on out there, we physically can't get sunflower to be coming out of the country.
"From a UK consumer perspective, sunflower oil is the biggest oil. It's used more than anything else. It's a fast moving situation. We're still trying to see if we can get some more but it's looking very tight."