The Palm Scribe

Asia’s Main Palm Oil Markets Expected to Recover in 2021

Oil palm fruits

Demand for Indonesian palm oil products is expected to recover next year as its three main markets – China, India and Pakistan – are predicted to recover in 2021, experts said on Thursday (3/12) 

The experts said that the trend in rising demand in this three main Asian markets have already been apparent in the third quarter of 2020 after they opened up to export and import activities again

“India, the largest oils importer, has resumed buying…. China’s imports of palm oil has also revived,” James Fry, Chairman of LMC International Ltd. told the Indonesian Palm Oil Conference 2020 that was this year conducted online.

Fry said that India recorded a big drop in its palm oil imports in Q2 bus since then demand had returned to close to normal while in China the drop in palm oil imports in Q1 during lockdown proved short-lived.

India imported 4.8 million tons of Indonesian palm oil, excluding oleochemicals and biodiesel, in 2019 while China absorbed six million tons/

Cao Derong, President Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of foodstuff, domestic products and animal by-products, said that Chinese palm oil import significantly dropped in the first quarter of 2020 and lasted into end of May.

“With the economic recovery in 2021, especially in the catering industry, the consumption of palm oil is expected to increase,” Cao said.

Entering June 2020, the volume of palm oil imported had began to gradually  rose again by 25.5 percent year-on-year, Cao said.

Dorab Mistry, Director of Godrej International Ltd, said that China has already made higher forward purchase of palm oil at cheap prices. “China’s Consumption of soybeans, soya oil, sun oil and palm oil is on uptrend,” he said.

He estimated that Indian imports of palm oil in the 2020-2021 period was expected to continue to rise slightly by some 440,000 tons from the 2019-2020 while BV Mehta, Executive Director of Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, said the Indian market would need at least 8.4-9.0 million tons of palm oil in 2021

Mehta said that the pandemic led to a drop of up to 30 percent in India’s palm oil import and in October import of the commodity had dropped to 7.2 million ton compared to 9.4 million ton in October the previous year.

In Pakistan, palm oil import for the first 10 months of 2020 only stood at 2,3 million tons but Abdul Rasheed Jan Mohammad, the Chairman of the Pakistan Edible Oil Refiner Association, said that imports were expected to continue to rise although he had doubt it could close the year at three million tons.

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