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Malaysia. Palm oil (CPO) production forecast - 19.6 million MT

31.12.2020 13:35 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U. S. Department of Agriculture attache in The Kuala Lumpur, Post is adjusting its Marketing Year (MY) 2020/21 crude palm oil (CPO) production forecast down 100,000 metric tons (MT) to 19.6 million MT as labor issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to plague the industry. Posts MY 2020/21 CPO consumption estimate has been adjusted down 150,000 MT due to increasing speculation that a nationwide shift from a 10 percent to a 20 percent biodiesel blend mandate (currently scheduled for mid-2021) wont be realized until 2022. Posts MY 2020/21 CPO export estimate has been adjusted up 400,000 MT based on media reports India recently reduced its customs duty on CPO imports. Also supporting increased Malaysian CPO exports in MY 2020/21 are reports from Indonesia indicating the country recently increased its CPO export levy.

Production

Posts marketing year (MY) 2020/21 crude palm oil (CPO) production estimate has been adjusted down 100,000 metric tons (MT) to 19.6 million MT. This reduction (compared to the September 30, 2020 quarterly report) is based on industry feedback that disruption and labor shortages stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to negatively impact production.

While more favorable weather the previous year is expected to positively impact Malaysian palm plantation yields in MY 2020/21, the acute shortage of manual labor is a particularly challenging issue.

With up to 84 percent of the industrys labor force normally comprised of foreign migrant workers (mostly from India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia), pandemic-induced travel restrictions have exacerbated local plantations ability to collect palm fruit. Adding uncertainty to the situation, a Government of Malaysia (GoM) moratorium on new migrant labor (initiated in June 2020) is due to end in December 2020, but there are still no clear guidelines on how foreign workers will be able to re-enter the country once the moratorium is lifted. Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB) data through the first two months of the marketing year indicates production is down 3.5 percent compared to the same time the previous year.

Consumption

Posts MY 2020/21 CPO consumption estimate has been adjusted down 150,000 MT (compared to the September 30, 2020 quarterly report) to 3.62 million MT. With CPOs price premium over fossil diesel markedly higher in 2020 compared to 2019, the cost of maintaining the B10 blend mandate has also risen. Multiple analysts now expect a national B20 rollout (currently scheduled for mid-2021) wont be realized until potentially 2022, supported by a return to price relationships more favorable for palm oilbased biodiesel.

Trade

Posts MY 2019/20 CPO export estimate has been adjusted up 410,000 MT (compared to the September 30, 2020 quarterly report) to 17.2 million MT based on full year MPOB data. Posts MY 2020/21 CPO export estimate has been adjusted up 400,000 MT (compared to the September 30, 2020 quarterly report) to 17.4 million MT based on media reports that India (Malaysias largest CPO customer) has reduced its customs duty on CPO imports from 37.5 percent to 27.5 percent as of November 27, 2020 (for details, please click here). Also supporting increased Malaysian CPO exports in MY 2020/21 are reports from Indonesia (Malaysias largest competitor in the global CPO market) indicating the country increased its CPO export levy as of December 10, 2020.

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