USDA to expand forecasts on soyoil use in biofuels

Change in reporting structure will come in May crop report

Reuters – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will alter how it reports soybean oil use by biofuels producers beginning with its monthly World Agriculture Supply & Demand Estimates (WASDE) report in May, the USDA announced April 8.

The USDA also said it will break out soybean meal supply and demand for China in its global table for the animal feed ingredient in what could help the market gauge whether the top soybean importer is crushing beans or stockpiling them.

The changes to the closely watched report, viewed as the global gold standard in agriculture data, comes amid rising demand for vegetable oils from producers of renewable diesel, a clean-burning fuel made from soy and other fats and oils, and strong Chinese demand for livestock feed.

The unusual changes are also an acknowledgment by the USDA of the strong demand potential for soyoil at a time U.S. soybean supplies are the lowest in years.

The USDA currently reports use from the sector in a catch-all category that also includes demand from food makers and animal feed producers. Use by makers of soy biodiesel, which is different from renewable diesel, currently occupies its own demand category.

The updated soyoil supply-and-demand forecast will combine use by biodiesel producers and renewable diesel producers to adhere to USDA’s reporting confidentiality guidelines, Keith Menzie, an economist at USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board, told Reuters in early March.

Changes to the USDA report had hinged on expanded biofuels and feedstock data in a monthly Energy Information Administration report. The EIA began issuing that data on March 31.

The USDA is due to issue its April WASDE report this Friday, and the May report is scheduled for release on May 12.

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Karl Plume is a reporter for Reuters.

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