Malaysia’s late-March palm oil stocks hit lowest level in a year as demand surges

Malaysia’s palm oil stocks at the end of March fell for a fifth consecutive month as a bigger-than-expected rise in exports and a slump in imports offset strong output growth, Monday showed data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

Stocks in the world’s second largest producer fell 2.99% from February to 1.47 million tonnes, the lowest since March 2021, according to MPOB data.

Overall demand grew nearly three times faster than supply, wiping out inventories, said Sathia Varqa, co-founder of Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics.

Crude palm oil production rose for the first time since October on the back of better weather, beating expectations with a monthly rise of 24% to 1.41 million tonnes.

Exports rose 14.1% to 1.27m tonnes, hitting a three-month high as buyers sought to replace missing supplies of sunflower oil after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine halted shipments from the key Black Sea region.

Imports fell by 43% to 84,871 tonnes.

“An increase in local usage reflects better post-pandemic consumption patterns, which will eventually remain high throughout the year,” said Paramalingam Supramaniam, director of Pelindung Bestari, a Malaysia-based brokerage.

However, little attention is paid to April production which remains an anomaly in the second quarter, with many growers and planters registering double-digit declines for the first 10 days of April, he added.
Source: Reuters (report by Mei Mei Chu; editing by Tom Hogue and Kanupriya Kapoor)

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Felix J. Dixon