Commodity News

Palm Oil: Bird’s Eye View of Malaysian Palm Oil Markets

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee
palm Oil
palm oil

Crude palm oil prices had climbed to an eight-year high last week amid concerns of labor shortage in Malaysia to lower output at a time when dry weather has started threatening soybean crops in South America. Moreover, it has been a stronger edible oil in the market. Steady export demand was another major factor attributing to the price rise. There exist concerns about supplies on reports of palm oil output in Malaysia in October dropping below the average of 1.89 million tons in the past 10 year. This year the Malaysian Palm Oil output will be lower than previous estimates because of labor issues. 

According to present MPOB data, around 80-85% of the plantation workforce comprises more than 265,000 mainly from Indonesia, Philippines and Bangladesh, and the industry was already short of around 31,000 workers before the pandemic. The ongoing pandemic has already enhanced the risk of production loss of Malaysian palm oil. The economy of this nation is heavily dependent on palm oil trade, as it is the most important agricultural commodity in terms of earning export revenue. In Malaysia, workers in palm plantation are mostly migrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and India rather than the locals. Earlier in March-April, as countries in Southeast Asia struggled to get the Covid-19 outbreak under control, the Malaysian government tightened restrictions on both sided travel for workers. As a result the country continues facing the acute labor shortage. Manual labor is required to keep trees pruned and healthy for future seasons. Therefore lack of adequate manpower to manage all these operations shall be influential in enhancing the production loss threat in near future as well.  

Malaysian palm oil prices are surging constantly because supply related concerns have emerged at a time when export demand remains strong. India is the largest importer of palm oil and our country is regularly building up stockpiles from Malaysia, in order to meet the festive season requirements. Since hotels and restaurant sector account for 33% of the total palm oil consumption in India, purchases from this country are expected to remain healthy as this sector re-opens gradually.  

With respect to the inventory situation of Malaysia's crude palm oil (CPO), the stocks have increased slightly by 0.4% to 934,710 tonnes in September from 930,990 tonnes in August month, as per the latest Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) reportThe report indicated processed palm oil stocks rising by 2.24% month-on-month (m-o-m) to 790,410 tonnes during September, from 773,070 in August. During the month under review, CPO production was slightly up 0.32% m-o-m to 1.87 million tonnes from 1.86 million tonnes in the month of August. But year on year the inventory remains significantly lowerand as compared to September 2019 (2,448,484 MT), Malaysian palm oil stocks in September 2020 (1,725,120MT) has fallen by nearly 30%. 

 

Source: MPOB  

 

Source: MPOB  

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