Malaysian Palm Oil Exports Drop Over First 20 Days of Month

Palm oil shipments from Malaysia fell 17 percent in the first 20 days of this month, according to Intertek, with the pace of decline slowing as buyers adjust to new rules in China and taxes in India, the biggest consumers.

Exports fell to 830,830 metric tons from 1 million tons in the same period in December, Intertek said today. That compares with a 25 percent drop in the first 10-day period of this month and a 21 percent fall over 15 days. Shipments in the first 20 days dropped 20 percent to 813,778 tons, an estimate from Societe Generale de Surveillance showed.

India will impose a tax of 2.5 percent on crude palm and soybean oil imports, the Agriculture Ministry said on Jan. 17. China’s quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, toughened inspections on imports from Jan. 1 to improve food safety. Malaysia, the largest producer after Indonesia, dropped its export tax to zero for this month to combat record stockpiles that have hurt prices.

“We’re still looking to see how the impact will be from the China side, on their new rules on imports, as well as India’s new import tax,” Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures Pte Ltd. in Singapore, said by phone. “A lot depends on what’s going on in India and China.”

Palm oil for April delivery climbed 0.8 percent to close at 2,420 ringgit ($797) a ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. While futures gained 1.4 percent last week, the first such advance in three weeks, they’ve declined 24 percent over the past year.

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