Middle East (Jan – May) 2020

Malaysian Palm Oil Exports Performance to Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Region
(Jan – May 2020)
A Review on MPO Performance

Middle East (East of Suez)

Jan – May 2019Change (MT)Change (%)
2.Saudi Arabia189,93858,232131,706226.17%
15. 670,451685,531-15,080-2.20%

Imports of Malaysian palm oil in the Middle East region during the period of Jan – May 2020 declined by 2.2% or 15,079 MT compared with the same period of last year.  This decline is mainly attributed to the reduced imports of Malaysian palm oil by Turkey and Iran during the given period.

Turkey, the leading importer of Malaysian palm oil in this region, recorded a 15.81% or 47,237 MT drop in its imports of Malaysian palm oil.  This decline is due to the slow demand, particularly from the HORECA sector which is also dependent on tourism industry which has been severely impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic resulting in fewer tourist arrivals to the country.  As the world is trying to curb the spread of COVID 19 pandemic through lockdowns, tourism sector has suffered the most as traveling has been halted as most airlines have temporarily stopped their operation.

Iran imports of Malaysian palm oil have also dropped by 73.27% or 138,136 MT as the country struggles with continuous US sanction. The recent battle with the pandemic has also contributed to the decline in the imports as Iran was among the worst hit areas in terms of positive cases and deaths in the Middle East region.

Despite of losing market share in Iran and Turkey, the decline has somehow been compensated by the rise in imports of Saudi Arabia which escalated from just 58,232 MT in 2019 to 189,938 MT in 2020, an increase of 226%.  Malaysian palm oil suppliers have been able to offer competitive prices in the market which has seen the imports switching to Malaysian suppliers.

Other market such as Oman, Yemen and Iraq have also recorded an increase of 120%, 34% and 342% respectively in their imports of Malaysian palm oil during the specified period. This increase is also attributed to the better pricing and availability of Malaysian palm oil during this period.

North Africa (West of Suez)

No.COUNTRYJan – May 2020Jan – May 2019Diff (Vol)Diff (%)


Imports of Malaysian palm oil by the North African market has recorded a 28.72% increase, owing to the rise in import by Egypt.  Egypt market led the region as the biggest importer of Malaysian palm oil in 2020, with imports of 74,559 MT, which is almost double the volume imported last year.  Somalia and Djibouti markets are also among the leading importers of Malaysian palm oil in this region. During the period of Jan – May 2020, Somalia imported a total of 55,998 MT of palm oil, an increase of 27.58%; whereas, Djibouti’s import of Malaysian palm oil registered a volume of 43,191 MT which was 55.76% higher than last year.  Other markets such as Morocco and Tunisia have also registered increase in their imports of Malaysian palm during the specified period.

Breakdown of MPO Exports (MT) Jan – Apr 2020

Jan –  May
Diff (MT)Diff (%)
RBD PO123,357110,43512,92211.70%
RBD PL449,310568,367(119,057)20.95%
RBD PS59,08469,103(10,019)14.50%

RBD PL accounted for 51.32% of the total Malaysian palm oil imported by the region during January – May 2020.  Major importers of RBD PL include Turkey, Egypt, Somalia, Oman, Yemen and Djibouti.  These countries accounted for 76.33% of the total Malaysian palm oil imported by the region.  CPL comprised 20% of Malaysian palm oil market share and most of the volume were imported by Saudi Arabia.  Duty advantage on crude products has prompted the country to opt CPL import instead of RBD PL.  There was also some CPO volume going into the region specifically to Morocco.

For more info please contact Mrs Fatimah
Email : fatimah@mpoc.org.my

*Disclaimer: This document has been prepared based on information from sources believed to be reliable but we do not make any representations as to its accuracy. This document is for information only and opinion expressed may be subject to change without notice and we will not accept any responsibility and shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage arising from or in respect of any use or misuse or reliance on the contents. We reserve our right to delete or edit any information on this site at any time at our absolute discretion without giving any prior notice.

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