In 2020, European rapeseed oil exports soared to 3.1M tonnes, reaching $3B in value terms. Germany is the largest supplier in the EU, accounting for 35% of European export volume. Belgium and France follow Germany, comprising a combined 26%-share. Last year, these three key exporters ramped up the supplies abroad significantly. France became the fastest-growing exporter among European countries. The rapeseed oil export price in the EU jumped by +6.7% y-o-y to $970 per tonne in 2020.
Cream imports to China soared +21% y-o-y to 194K tonnes in 2020, which equated to $625M. Over the past decade, China boosted cream imports manyfold, from only 7.1K tonnes or $20M in 2010 to the present figures. New Zealand remains the key cream supplier to China, accounting for 53% of the total Chinese imports in physical terms. In 2020, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand featured the highest growth rates regarding cream export volume to China. Last year, the average cream import price in China grew by +2.5% to $3,216 per tonne compared to the figures of 2019.
Global refined coconut oil imports dropped by -5.5% y-o-y to 1M tonnes in 2020. The U.S., China, Germany and South Korea constitute the largest importers of refined coconut oil worldwide. In 2020, American and Chinese imports declined significantly, while the purchases in Turkey followed an upward trend. Last year, the average refined coconut oil import price rose by +4.5% compared to the figures of 2019.
European virgin olive oil exports soared by +11% y-o-y to 1.5M tonnes or $5.2B in 2020. Spain remains the key virgin olive oil supplier in the EU, accounting for 56% of the total European exports in physical terms. Greece and Italy have significantly strengthened their positions in terms of exports, ramping up the volume of supplies abroad. Greece emerged as the fastest-growing European exporter in 2020. The average price for virgin olive oil in the EU dropped by -6.3% y-o-y last year to $3,370 per tonne.
This year global butter production is anticipated to keep up with ha last year, amounting to 5.6M tonnes. The EU is forecast to decrease butter exports due to a slight drop in production amid an increase in demand. Butter exports from New Zealand are not forecast to grow due to increased competition with UHT cream for food service being increasingly in demand.
Over the past year, the prices for sunflower oil have doubled, against robust demand and depleting sunflower seed stocks. The dry weather conditions negatively affected the sunflower crop yield in 2020, but the market is now seeing a sturdy recovery. The production of sunflower oil is forecast to increase in 2021 driven by strong demand that promotes investments in the expansion of harvested areas.
The soybean oil market indicates steady growth, despite the COVID-19 pandemic cut demand for biofuel. The competitive price of soybean oil, against the price for sunflower and palm oil, combined with the potential growth in demand for biofuels and increasingly robust environmental standards, signal tangible prospects for the further development of the soybean oil market.
While Indonesia, planning to expand production, fights for the EU's recognition of palm oil as a biofuel, Malaysia is faced with an acute shortage of labor due to the outflow of guest workers after the pandemic.