November 26, 2018 / 2:30 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Malaysia says to fully implement new biodiesel programme from Feb

* B10 rules to increase minimum bio-content of biodiesel to 10 pct

* Palm oil is used as feedstock for biodiesel

* Move is part of push to boost local consumption of palm oil (Adds minister comment, background)

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Malaysia on Monday said it would start to phase in a higher biodiesel mandate from next month, with the new rule coming into full force from February in an effort to bolster palm oil prices.

The so-called B10 biodiesel programme will raise the minimum bio-content that local producers must put in biodiesel to be used in transport to 10 percent from 7 percent, potentially boosting demand for palm oil as a feedstock.

Primary industries minister Teresa Kok said the B10 programme would be implemented for the transportation sector in phases beginning from Dec. 1, with mandatory implementation from Feb. 1. A B7 programme for the industrial sector will be implemented from July.

Malaysia, the world’s second biggest producer of palm oil after Indonesia, has taken a hit from a recent slump in the price of the vegetable oil.

Benchmark palm oil prices slumped to a near three-year low last week due to high inventories, rising production and sluggish demand.

Kok said the B10 programme would increase local consumption of crude palm oil and help reduce stocks.

“At the current low price of palm oil, now is the right time to implement the expanded biodiesel programme,” she said.

The higher mandate is expected to consume about 761,000 tonnes of palm oil annually, she said. (Reporting by Liz Lee, writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)

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