Tung oil is a yellow drying oil produced from the seed of the tung tree. The seeds or nuts of the tung tree are harvested and pressed to yield tung oil. Tung oil is used mostly as an industrial lubricant and drying agent, and is the most powerful drying agent known. It is also used in paints and varnishes, soaps, inks, and electrical insulators. Tung oil is poisonous, containing glycerol esters of unsaturated fats. The oil is also used as a substitute for linseed oil in paints, varnishes, and linoleum, and as a waterproofing agent.
Prices - The price of tung oil in 2006 fell by -6.4% yr/yr to 92.06 cents per pound, down from last year's 8-year high of 98.33 cents per pound.
Demand - U.S. consumption of tung oil has fallen sharply over the past decade. In 2007 (annualized through September) U.S. consumption fell by -20.0% yr/yr to 1.413 million pounds. The 2007 consumption level was less than 7% of 1996's 18-year high of 21.645 million pounds.
Trade - World imports of tung oil in 2005 (latest data available) fell -10.0% yr/yr to 22,511 metric tons. U.S. imports of tung oil in 2005 fell sharply by -37.3% to 1,866 metric tons. The world's largest importers of tung oil are South Korea with 17% of world imports, Taiwan with 13%, the Netherlands with 11%, Japan with 9%, and the U.S. with 8%. The world's largest exporter of tung oil by far is China with 16,563 metric tons of exports in 2005, accounting for 71% of total world exports.