Minister pledges to tackle high palm oil prices

Trade Minister Jurin Laksanawisit vowed to tackle high palm oil prices this week after cooking oil prices jumped to almost 70 baht per bottle from 56 to 60 baht at the end of last year.

Speaking after chairing a war room yesterday to oversee ongoing price increases in essential consumer goods, including cooking palm oil, Mr Jurin said the sharp rise in oil prices cooking time is largely driven by the prices of fresh palm nuts and crude palm oil.

Prices for fresh palm nuts have increased over the past five years, from just 2 baht per kilogram in 2017 to 10-11 baht today.

Mr. Jurin acknowledged that higher prices benefit farmers, but also affect consumers.

“I have already ordered the Department of Internal Trade and the war rooms to find the best solutions and ensure a balance for all stakeholders, whether farmers, industrialists or consumers” , did he declare.

“Nevertheless, the government is unlikely to intervene in the market and place cooking palm oil on the state price control list.”

According to Wattanasak Sur-iam, director general of the Department of Domestic Trade, the prices of bottled cooking palm oil sold in department stores, retail and wholesale outlets are still kept within the price ranges that the department asked to cooperate to cap their palm cooking oil price.

He predicted that the price situation would improve after the start of production of fresh palms on the market next month.

The department reported in late December last year that Thailand only had about 170,000 tonnes of crude palm oil stocks, which is considered very low compared to the 300,000 tonnes the country must set aside. for safety stocks.

Crude palm oil prices are now quoted at 56 baht per kg, down from 35 baht in January last year.

Domestic crude oil prices are 12 to 13 baht per kg higher than the currently quoted world market price of 44 baht, even though Thailand is a major oil palm producer.

The Agricultural Economics Board predicts that the supply of fresh palm nuts will be around 17 million tonnes this year, up from 16 million tonnes last year.

Domestic demand should be close to domestic supply. Of the total supply, about 1 million tonnes will go to edible oil production and the rest to biodiesel and security stocks.

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Felix J. Dixon