Malaysia Palm Exports Drop at Slower Pace in First 25 Days

Palm oil shipments from Malaysia, the second-biggest producer, declined 14 percent in the first 25 days of this month, with the pace of decrease slowing as Indian buyers bought more before the introduction of import taxes.

Exports fell to 1.1 million metric tons from 1.28 million tons in the same period in December, Intertek said. That compares with a 25 percent drop in the first 10 days, a 21 percent slide in 15 days and a 17 percent decline in 20 days. Shipments slid 15 percent to 1.1 million tons in the first 25 days, according to Societe Generale de Surveillance.

India, the biggest buyer, is taxing crude imports for the first time since 2008 to protect oilseed growers. The crude duty is 2.5 percent, while the refined tariff is kept at 7.5 percent. The country almost doubled the taxable value to $802 a ton from $447 with the rate being revised every fortnight, the Central Board of Excise and Customs said. Malaysia will keep a zero tariff on exports through February to cut record stockpiles.

“India should theoretically buy more if they know that this duty is coming,” said Ivy Ng, an analyst at CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. “There could have been a lot of shipments done just prior to this.”

Exports to India and the subcontinent jumped 45 percent to 300,570 tons in the first 25 days from 207,260 tons in the first 20 days, Intertek data show. That compares with a 37 percent increase to 362,305 tons in the first 25 days of December from 264,505 tons in the first 20 days.

Shipments to China climbed 22 percent to 253,300 tons in the first 25 days from 206,950 tons in the first 20 days. Exports rose 21 percent to 331,037 tons from 274,287 tons in the same periods in December, the data show.

Palm oil for April delivery dropped 1.5 percent to close at 2,445 ringgit ($803) a ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. Futures gained 1.9 percent this week.

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