The Jakarta Post
Palm oil producers are optimistic that they will exceed their export target this year of over 20 million tons as shipments in three quarters have shown significant growth, thanks to growing overseas demand.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki) estimates that total crude palm oil (CPO) export volume may reach around 22 million tons this year on the back of high demand for the commodity from countries such as India, those in the eurozone and China.
'Given the achievement [until the third quarter], we're optimistic that we can achieve more than what we're targeting to achieve this year,' Gapki executive director Fadhil Hasan told The Jakarta Post recently. Indonesia, the world's top producer of palm oil, has exported 18.8 million tons of CPO from January through September this year, a 25.5 percent increase from 15 million tons in the same period of last year, according to Gapki data.
With exports of 500,000 tons per month during the last quarter of the year, the 20 million ton target could be met. Meanwhile, in September alone, CPO export volume reached 2.34 million tons, an increase of 11.4 percent month-on-month from 2.1 million tons in August. The higher-than-expected export volume in September was hugely driven by growing demand for palm oil in export destination countries despite global economic uncertainties, Fadhil said.
India's import of Indonesian palm oil surged 71.9 percent to 611,020 tons in September from 355,490 tons in August on the back of its national buffer stock program amid low CPO prices and growing demand from its food industry. In the January-September period, India's import of Indonesian CPO increased 28 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 4.16 million tons from 3.25 million tons.
The country's palm oil shipments to the EU also significantly increased owing to higher demand for the union's biodiesel needs.
Imports of Indonesian CPO from the 28-member bloc grew 41.2 percent to 373,560 tons in September from 264,550 tons in August.
Meanwhile, despite its domestic economic slowdown, China has seen its import of Indonesian palm oil surge 59 percent to 2.54 million tons in the third quarter from 1.59 million tons in the same period last year.
The huge increase in China's demand for Indonesian CPO was mainly caused by lower domestic palm oil output while national demand continued to grow. Palm oil demand from the US, meanwhile, dropped 46 percent to 50,620 tons in September from 93,650 tons in August as its production of soybean, which is also used as a vegetable oil substitution for palm oil, significantly increased.
Fadhil said that while Indonesia's palm oil export volume was on the rise during the last three quarters, the export value might not significantly increase as CPO prices hit a six-year low last month.
Global CPO prices hit an average of US$526.9 per metric ton in September, a 2.3 percent decline from $539.3 per metric ton in August.
Fadhil said, however, that he expected CPO prices to hit around $570 to $600 per metric ton in October on the back of state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina's plan to absorb more biodiesel and speculation that El NiÃ±o might reduce oversupply in producing countries.
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