Major shares are occupied by soybean oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil and peanut oil in edible vegetable oil market in China, of which the palm oil is mainly used for the food industry. Products with a small market share (e.g. corn oil and olive oil) account for an increasing share in China edible vegetable oil market in recent years. The major reason is that Chinese people consider these varieties are healthier.
As the revenues of planting oil crops are rather lower in China and a large amount of labor force moves from rural to urban areas, the output volume of oil crops can hardly increase at high speed. In recent years, the annual cultivated area of oil crops including soybeans is about over 20 million hectares while the annual output volume is less than 50 million tons. Oil crops needed in the production of vegetable oil of enterprises are largely dependent on import and this dependence ratio increases to over 60%. With the limited output volume of oil crops in China, increasing import is the major channel to meet the growing demand for vegetable oil.
The imported volume of edible vegetable oil was 6.76 million tons increasing by 4% YOY in China in 2015. In addition, China imports large amount of oil crops. In 2015, the import volume of soybeans was 81.7 million tons increasing by 14.6% YOY with an import value of USD 34.83 billion. Meanwhile, the annual import value of oil crops and vegetable oil exceeds USD 50 billion in China.
In China, there are tens of thousands of edible oil processing enterprises with an annual production capacity of over 200 million tons. However, major shares are occupied by top 10 enterprises of the edible vegetable oil market, including Yihai Kerry, COFCO Corporation and Chinatex Corporation.
Edible oil prices are slump due to the sufficient domestic oil supply, leading to lowering edible vegetable oil prices of oil processing enterprises for market shares from 2012. By the end of 2015, soybean oil, rapeseed oil and palm oil experienced the lowest prices in the past five years.