Palm oil stocks at highest level in 20 years

Malaysian palm oil futures edged lower on Friday as traders awaited industry production data for the first 20 days of the month before taking any fresh positions.

SINGAPORE: Malaysia’s palm oil stockpiles at the end of November rose above 3 million tonnes as a steep decline in exports boosted reserves, official data showed yesterday.

Palm oil stocks last month rose 10.5% from October to 3.007 million tonnes, industry regulator the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) said. The stockpiles are at the highest in at least 18 years, according to Refinitiv data going back that far.

Rising palm oil reserves could weigh on benchmark palm oil prices, which were falling for a second session yesterday.

A Reuters survey based on the median estimate of eight planters, traders and analysts earlier this month showed Malaysia’s palm oil stocks would touch the 3-million-tonne mark.

“The ending stocks are as per our expectations but a decline of more than 6% in production is a bit of a surprise,” said Santhosh Kumar, chief executive of Singaporean trading and consulting company Arcis Global Merchants Pte Ltd.

“Most people were looking at a decline of around 3%.”

The MPOB data showed palm oil production in November slid 6.09% from the previous month to 1.85 million tonnes, while exports fell 12.9% to 1.375 million tonnes.

Demand for palm oil generally tapers down in the last quarter of the year as colder temperatures in key markets such as China and Europe cause palm oil to solidify, which leads buyers to seek alternative oils. — Reuters

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