Malaysian palm oil stocks may recover sharply from 13-year lows by 2021-end

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil inventories in December plunged to 1.26 million tonnes, their lowest in more than 13 years, but are expected to rebound to 2 million tonnes by the end of 2021, the industry regulator said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A worker collects palm oil fruit inside a palm oil factory in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), December palm oil end-stocks in the world’s second-largest producer slumped 19% on-month to their lowest since July 2007.

Palm oil exports surged 24.7% to 1.62 million tonnes and crude palm oil production fell 10.6% to 1.33 million tonnes, MPOB said.

Imports soared 150% to a record 282,058 tonnes to cope with rising outflow of crude palm oil after a six-month tax exemption and low output, said Anilkumar Bagani, research head of Mumbai-based vegetable oils broker Sunvin Group.

“The year 2021 is expected to bring a brighter prospect for the Malaysian palm oil industry with all key indicators of the industry are projected to show a better performance,” MPOB director-general Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said separately during a virtual conference.

The 2021 end-stocks will soar 59% to 2 million tonnes as exports and production levels climb, Ahmad Parveez said.

Palm oil exports this year are estimated to rise to 17.5 million tonnes, compared with 17.37 million tonnes in 2020, he said.

Crude palm oil production is seen rising to 19.7 million tonnes in 2021, versus 19.14 million tonnes last year, Ahmad Parveez added.

MPOB pegged Malaysia’s benchmark crude palm oil price to average at 3,000 ringgit ($742.02) a tonne this year due to slower production growth, firmer soy oil prices and the nationwide implementation of the biodiesel programme, which has been postponed until December 2021.

Crude palm oil price in 2020 averaged at 2,685.50 ringgit ($664.23) per tonne, MPOB said.

Here is a breakdown of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board figures and Reuters estimates for December (volumes in tonnes) [PALM/POLL]:

Dec 2020 Dec 2020 poll Nov 2020* Dec 2019

Output 1,333,637 1,326,283 1,491,551 1,333,904

Stocks 1,264,881 1,218,535 1,561,758 2,010,527

Exports 1,624,692 1,500,000 1,303,271 1,398,049

Imports 282,058 100,000 112,663 123,029

*indicates revised figures by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board

($1 = 4.0430 ringgit)

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu and A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Sherry Jacob-Phillips