China’s Palm Oil Imports Likely to Touch 6m tonnes

KUALA LUMPUR: China’s purchase of palm oil, mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia, is likely to touch six million tonnes in 2013, thanks to increasing appetite for the staple cooking ingredient, says the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).

“The value add of palm oil will spur more usage of this commodity,” said MPOC regional manager for China market Desmond Ng.

“Currently, palm oil is mainly used as a deep-fry and baking ingredient in many restaurants and food-processing factories in China,” he said in his presentation at the Outlook of China’s Oils and Fats Industry in 2013 at the Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS) 2012 yesterday.

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s data, from January to September this year, China only bought 3.39 million tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia, 19 per cent less than last year’s 3.95 million tonnes. 

When asked on China’s palm oil demand for the rest of the year, Ng replied, “it’s likely to end at around 5.7 million tonnes, as brisk shipments are starting to pick up in preparation of the Lunar New Year in February 2013”. 

He explained that China’s palm oil purchase in the last three years were below six million tonnes as local soyabean farmers enjoyed good harvest and the government thus slowed down on palm oil imports. 

He also said China had, in the last few years, been importing more soyabeans instead of soyaoil becau-se local livestock farmers demanded more soyameal to feed their pig, cattle, dairy and poultry farms.

“Soyameal demand in China has reached its peak and we think it will start to taper next year. So, instead of importing more soyabeans, we hope to see more purchase of palm oil … perhaps six million tonnes,” Ng said. 

Asked on implication of China government’s tighter controls on blending of palm olein with other imports of vegetable oils for the retail market, which will come into effect from January, Ng said since palm oil is mainly used by food processors and the baking community, and is “classified as industrial use”, it is not likely to have too big of an impact”.

Source : Business Times

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