Palm Ends Lower After Soaring On Tougher Indonesia Export Ban

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures fell 1% on Thursday after skyrocketing in the previous session, as Indonesia banned exports of crude and refined grades of the edible oil, although the top producer said the ban would be temporary.

The benchmark palm oil contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed down 77 ringgit, or 1.1%, at 6,910 ringgit ($1,584.86) a tonne, hovering near a seven-week high of 7,132 ringgit earlier in the session.

The contract hit its upper daily price limit of 10% on Wednesday after Indonesia shocked the market by widening the scope of its export ban to include crude palm oil, refined palm oil and used cooking oil, among other palm oil products.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday that meeting public demand for affordable food takes priority over securing tax and export revenues, and that he would lift the ban once domestic needs are met.

“Expectation is the ban will be lifted in three weeks,” said Sathia Varqa, co-founder of Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics.

Palm gains nearly 3% as market weighs Indonesia’s export ban

The ban will remove 1.52 million tonnes of palm oil products a month from global supply, Varqa added.

“It will result in heightening tensions to the already-tightening global vegetable oil markets,” Public Investment Bank said in a note.

Indonesia should be able to resolve the country’s cooking oil shortages not too long after the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, which falls in early May, said Sahat Sinaga, a senior official at the industry-run Indonesia Palm Oil Board.

The nation’s palm oil industry association GAPKI said it is working with government agencies and state companies to ensure supply and affordability of cooking oil.

Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract rose 1.8%, while its palm oil contract gained 5%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade eased 0.8% after rallying to a record high in the previous session.