China likely to increase Malaysian palm oil imports, says Zuraida

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Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin says China is expected to import 4.8 million tonnes of palm oil globally in 2022. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, July 19, 2022.

THE Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry is optimistic that China will increase its palm oil imports despite current global challenges.

Its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the world’s second-largest economy is ready to import more palm oil, tropical fruits and other agricultural products from Malaysia following Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Malaysia.

“This is surely a good piece of news given the uncertainties shrouding the international palm oil trade as evident by plummeting crude palm oil prices to sub-RM4,000 per tonne level after a spike to above RM8,000 per tonne in March 2022,” she said in a statement today.

In 2021, China accounted for 11% of total global palm oil imports and 12% of Malaysian palm oil exports.

China imported 6.38 million tonnes of palm oil last year, including 1.67 million tonnes from Malaysia.




High vegetable oil prices in the first five months of 2022 have deterred buyers and traders in China from actively importing palm oil and other edible oils, hence prompting palm oil imports to drop by 58.3% year-on-year (y-o-y) or 1.52 million tonnes to only 960,000 tonnes.

From January-June 2022, Malaysian palm oil exports to China stood at 565,842 tonnes, which is 175,640 tonnes or 31% lower compared to the same period of last year.

“Set against current global economic challenges such as the high interest rate environment, inflationary pressure and recessionary concerns, China is expected to import 4.8 million tonnes of palm oil globally in 2022 based on the assumption that the June-December 2022 import quantity is on par with the same period in 2021,” she added.

Zuraida, however, said it is unlikely for China’s total palm oil imports in 2022 to come close to the volume recorded in the previous year.

“A few factors that influence the prices of palm oil, like demand from downstream sectors, the soybean situation in China, Indonesia’s policies to curb domestic palm oil price hikes and tightness in the supply of global edible oils, will continue to affect the prospects of China’s palm oil imports from Malaysia,” she said. – Bernama, July 19, 2022.


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