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Libyan Demand Helps Send Corn-Oil Exports to 6-Year High

Global exports of corn oil reached a six-year high in the past season, in part because of rising shipments to Libya after the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime, Oil World said.

World corn oil shipments jumped 18 percent in the year ended Sept. 30 to 900,000 metric tons, the Hamburg-based researcher said today in an e-mailed statement. U.S. exports increased to Spain, Egypt and Venezuela, with much of the supply to Spain re-exported into North Africa, it said. Libya imported about 100,000 tons of corn oil in the 2011 calendar year, it said.

“In Libya the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime apparently paved the way for a doubling of corn oil imports” in 2011, with purchases increasing further through at least the first nine months of 2012, Oil World said. “Part of the corn oil, mainly U.S. origin, entered the country via Spain and Tunisia.”

Both exports and domestic consumption of corn oil “increased significantly” in the U.S. in the 2011-12 season, Oil World said. U.S. use of the oil for biodiesel production jumped to 223,000 tons from October 2011 to August 2012, up more than 90 percent from a year earlier. About 60 percent of dry-mill ethanol plants will produce corn oil by next year, allowing for annual production of about 300,000 gallons of corn oil-based biofuel, it said, citing the Environmental Protection Agency.

U.S. net imports of oils and fats totaled 2.1 million tons in the 2011-12 season that ended Sept. 30, up from 1.1 million tons a year earlier, Oil World said. Usage of palm oil and canola oil also “increased sharply,” it said. Net imports may rise in the current season after drought hurt corn and soybean crops with palm oil needed “to fill in the supply gap to a large extent.”

World exports of sunflower seed oil may shrink by 1.1 million tons to 6.1 million tons in the 2012-13 season, Oil World said. Global exportable supplies of sesame seed also are expected to shrink, as production in India falls to a four-year low at 680,000 tons, it said.

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