The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) announced that Indonesia’s palm oil output for the first quarter of 2018 reached 10.41 million tons or up 24 percent compared to the same period last year.
The significant rise was because in the first quarter of 2017, the industry was still recovering from the drought caused by the El Nino in 2015 and therefore the production was relatively weak as well as the fact that there was oncoming production from new plantation areas that were beginning to produce, the organization in its release on the weekend.
March saw 3.65 million tons of palm oil produced by Indonesia, or a nine percent increase from the previous month, with long work days and conducive weathers cited as being behind the rise.
GAPKI also noted a one percent increase in palm oil export in March compared to the previous month, reaching 2.4 million tons, excluding biodiesel and oleochemicals.
The relatively stagnant exports in March, according to GAPKI, was attributed by the falling exports to India after the Indian government hiked its import duty on vegetable oils to 44 percent from previously 30 percent and on refined palm oil to 54 percent from previously 40 percent.
The higher import duty pressured down exports of Indonesian palm oil to India by 33,440 tons, or about eight percent to just 408,650 tons in March. Lower exports were also recorded for Bangladesh which imported 59 percent less, Middle Eastern countries which absorbed 30 percent less and Pakistan 0.5 percent less.
Meanwhile, increase in exports was recorded for the European Union which saw its import of Indonesian palm oil up by 38 percent, China by 16 percent, and the United States by 11 percent. The new markets in Africa absorbed 38 percent more in March compared to the previous month.
Indonesia’s palm oil stockpile reached 3.65 million tons by end of March or 4.29 percent up from the previous month.