Palm Oil Shipments From Indonesia May Reach Record on Production

Palm oil exports from Indonesia, the world’s largest producer, may climb about 10 percent to an all-time high this year as output gains to a record and sales of refined products increase, according to an industry group.

Shipments may climb to 20 million metric tons from an estimated 18.2 million tons last year, according to the Indonesian Palm Oil Association. Output will probably expand 5.7 percent to 28 million tons, the group known as Gapki said.

Palm oil dropped 23 percent in Kuala Lumpur last year, the worst slump since the financial crisis in 2008, as slowdowns in Europe and China curbed demand, boosting stockpiles in Indonesia and Malaysia. Futures have rebounded 8.7 percent after slumping to a three-year low of 2,217 ringgit ($728) on Dec. 13.

“Export of refined products may be more than 60 percent of total shipments in 2013, because the tariffs are lower than crude palm oil,” Susanto, head of marketing at Gapki, told reporters in Jakarta today. That would compare with 58 percent in 2012, he said.

Demand for refined products especially from China, the world’s biggest edible oil consumer, is promising and will continue to increase, he said. Indonesia exported about 3 million tons of palm oil to China in 2011, according to data from Gapki. Shipments in the first 10 months of 2012 reached 2.4 million tons, down about 2 percent from a year earlier.

Tax Cuts

Indonesia needs to cut its export tax to avoid losing market share to Malaysia in countries such as India and Pakistan that typically buy more of the crude variety, Gapki Secretary-General Joko Supriyono said.

Indonesia cut the export tax on crude palm to 7.5 percent this month from 9 percent in December, while Malaysia set the tariff at zero. The Indonesian duty for refined products such as palm-based biodiesel and refined, bleached and deodorized palm oil are set at zero for this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Exports will depend on the “government’s policy, if we have similar export tax level, like Malaysia, then we could increase our exports,” Supriyono said. Shipments to Pakistan may gain to about 1 million tons from about 600,000 tons last year, if the government lowers the tax, he said.

Indonesia exported 5.8 million tons of palm oil to India in 2011, according to Gapki’s data. Shipments reached 4.6 million tons in the first 10 months of 2012.

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