Indonesian palm oil exports to China plunge by half in January

Indonesia’s palm oil exports declined by 35.6 percent in January to 2.39 million tons, according to data provided by the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI)

JAKARTA, March 30 (Jakarta Post/ANN) — The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) said export volume to China fell by 381,000 tons or 57 percent in January and this had contributed to the sharp fall in the country’s total palm oil exports, which declined by 35.6 percent to 2.39 million tons in January, from 3.72 million tons in December 2019.

“The drastic export decline in January could be because importing countries were still holding on to their stock while waiting for the Indonesia government to implement a 30 percent blended biodiesel [B30] program,” the association said in the statement.

Should the decline continue, overall export performances could be dragged down in 2020 as palm oil has remained the country’s top export. The palm oil industry is one of Indonesia’s major foreign exchange earners, contributing 13.5 percent to total non-oil and gas exports worth US$22.3 billion, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said on March 2.

In 2019, China imported 6 million tons of palm oil from Indonesia, representing 16.5 percent of overall palm oil exports during the year, GAPKI data showed.

But China is not the only destination that saw a decline in palm oil exports in January. Palm oil exports to the European Union fell by 188,000 tons (30 percent), 141,000 tons (22 percent) for India and 129,000 tons for the United States (64 percent). Only Bangladesh saw a month-to-month increase by 52 percent to 40,000 tons in January.

The novel coronavirus, which emerged in China in late December 2019, could further lower the country’s crude palm oil (CPO) imports from Indonesia, as most of the country’s industries, including food and beverage producers, were closed for months.

However, CPO CIF Rotterdam prices rose in January, as CPO prices increased to an average of US$830 per ton from an average of $787 tons in December last year. CPO production also increased to 3.48 million tons in January from 3.45 million tons in the previous month.

Source : The Star

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