Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Price responsiveness of supply and acreage in the EU vegetable oil markets: policy implications

Santeramo, Fabio Gaetano and Di Gioia, Leonardo and Lamonaca, Emilia (2020): Price responsiveness of supply and acreage in the EU vegetable oil markets: policy implications. Forthcoming in: Land Use Policy


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Vegetable oil market is becoming of increasing interest in the global biofuel industry. This phenomenon has also interested the European Union (EU), where the growing expansion of biofuel production is affected by political interventions promoting fuel security and environmental goals. Yet, empirical evidence on the impacts that changes in price of one commodity may have on the supply of another commodity are rather scant. We investigate these dynamics for the major sources of biodiesel in the EU and conclude on cross-commodity linkages for palm, rapeseed, soy, and sunflower oils. We also examine the acreage response of domestically produced feedstocks to changes in prices of vegetable oils. Our findings suggest strong and diversified path dependencies among vegetable oils that should be considered in planning sustainable biofuel policies. In particular, the empirical analysis reveals the great relevance of sunflower and soy oils, which show a high price responsiveness, and the high competition in end uses of domestically produced vegetable oils (i.e. rapeseed, soy, and sunflower oils), that tend to be net substitutes in supply. In terms of land use effects, we find that an increase in the price of imported palm oil results in a displacement effect in land devoted to rapeseed cultivation, whereas a surge in the price of sunflower oil decreases the use of land for rapeseed. Land use effects would be relevant in northern EU countries where the production of rapeseed is the most intense. A policy measure in the EU, incentivising the production of renewable and environmental-friendly fuel from sustainable feedstocks, would be positive for the domestic market to the extent that it stimulates the production of vegetable oils (soy and sunflower oils) with the highest direct and indirect emissions saving. However, the expansion of oil palm plantations in extra-EU producing countries and of imports to the EU would determine important impacts in terms of indirect land use change emissions and direct emissions due to increased transports.

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