Malaysia's February palm oil exports, stocks hit lows

  • Market: Agriculture, Biofuels, Chemicals
  • 11/03/24

Malaysian palm oil exports fell to a three-year low in February, along with lower production and a drop in stocks to a seven-month low.

Palm oil exports fell by 25pc on the month to 1.02mn t in February, the lowest level since February 2021, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB). Purchases from price-sensitive countries have fallen as the price discount for palm oil has narrowed compared with rival soft vegetable oils. Average crude palm oil prices delivered to Indian ports rose to $911/t cif in January from $883/t cif in December 2023, while crude soybean oil prices fell to $939/t cif from $976/t cif over the same period, according to the Solvent Extractors' Association of India.

Malaysian palm oil inventories also dropped by 5pc on the month to a seven-month low of 1.92mn t in February, falling below the 2mn t threshold for the first time since July 2023, MPOB data show. Market participants look to Malaysia's monthly palm oil stock levels as a gauge for price direction. Malaysia is the world's second-biggest palm oil producer.

A drop in production contributed to the export and stock declines. Crude palm oil (CPO) production fell by 10pc on the month to 1.26mn t in February, although output was stable from a year earlier. The month-on-month decline was mainly driven by lower production in the east Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, which are the country's largest palm oil producers. Output fell by nearly 15pc each in Sabah and Sarawak from January to 291,000t and 276,000t respectively.

Palm kernel production fell by 12pc on the month to 302,000t in February, while output of crude palm kernel oil fell by 14pc to 139,000t, the MPOB said.

Tight palm oil supplies will likely support palm oil prices at relatively high levels over the next three months, analysts forecast last week.

Malaysian exports of biodiesel also fell by 28pc on the month to 29,400t in February. Outbound trade of oleochemicals rose to 255,000t, 1pc higher from January, but palm kernel oil exports fell by 19pc on the month to 55,600t in February.


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