KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's palm oil inventories at end-July likely jumped to the highest in eight months due to improving production and soaring imports, a Reuters survey showed on Thursday.
Stockpiles in the world's second-largest producer expanded 8.3% from June to 1.79 million tonnes, according to the median estimate of 11 traders and analysts polled by Reuters.
Production also rose to its highest since November, up 2% to 1.58 million tonnes. Exports gained 2.2% to 1.22 million tonnes while imports surged 35% to 80,000 tonnes.
The better exports could be due to slower than expected palm oil exports from larger producer Indonesia, despite Jakarta easing restrictions on shipments, Ivy Ng, regional head of plantations research at CGS-CIMB Research, said in a note.
Sathia Varqa, co-founder of Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics, said exports would soon gather pace in Indonesia.
"Lower cash prices, widening palm discount to its nearest rival bean oil and reduced export tax will offer increasing palm export opportunities to Indonesia, fuelling competition to Malaysia," Varqa said.
Concerns over demand for Malaysian palm oil as Indonesia cuts taxes and raises exportable volumes to clear its lofty inventories has pushed benchmark crude palm oil prices from record highs to its lowest in a year.
Varqa expects palm oil prices to flux between 3,800-4,200 ringgit ($943.40) a tonne in August and September.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Board is scheduled to release its data on August 10.
Breakdown of July estimates (in tonnes):
* Official stocks of 1,655,073 tonnes in June plus the above estimated output and imports yield a total July supply of 3,311,105 tonnes. Based on the median of exports and closing stocks estimate, Malaysia's domestic consumption in July is estimated to be 298,554 tonnes. - Reuters