PETALING JAYA: The rising palm oil inventory potentially staying above two million tonnes in the coming months could undermine the price of crude palm oil (CPO) in the final quarter of this year, say analysts.
Palm oil stock or “inventory” is often seen as one of the key benchmarks to gauge the next price movement for CPO by industry players.
Next Monday, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board is expected to release its latest palm oil production, stock, export and import statistics for August.
So far, a survey of planters by CGS-CIMB Research’s futures team and the median estimate of nine traders and analysts polled by Reuters have indicated that local palm oil inventory will likely hit above two million tonnes as at end-August.
In its note to clients yesterday, CGS-CIMB Research estimated local palm oil inventory probably grew by 16% month-on-month (m-o-m) and 9% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 2.06 million tonnes in August, at its highest level since November 2019, due to higher output.
“Our estimate for August palm oil stock level in Malaysia is 3% above the 10-year historical August average of two million tonnes,” it added.
The survey by CGS-CIMB Research’s futures team also revealed that local CPO output likely grew by 10% m-o-m and 1% y-o-y to 1.73 million tonnes in August.
For the month under review, palm oil exports likely fell by 0.4% m-o-m but rose 12.8% y-o-y to 1.32 million tonnes, based on export statistics by cargo surveyors.
Intertek projected exports to increase 1.6% m-o-m and SGS pegged a 0.3% rise, but Amspec Malaysia anticipated a 3% decline m-o-m.
“The slightly weaker m-o-m palm oil exports from Malaysia could be due to higher palm oil export supplies from Indonesia,” noted CGS-CIMB Research.
Earlier, a Reuters’ survey on Monday showed that local palm oil stock at the end of August likely swelled above two million tonnes for the first time in more than two years, lifted by a jump in production.
The output in the world’s second-largest producer climbed 8% to 1.7 million tonnes, hitting a 10-month peak.
“August, the start of the peak production season, is on course to be the best production month, buoyed by rains offering ample soil moisture and boosting yields.
“September production rise will see a slowdown as yields take time to recover,” said Sathia Varqa, co-founder of Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics told Reuters.
In August, local palm oil exports were said to ease 0.14% to 1.32 million tonnes amid increasing price competition with larger rival, Indonesia.
Meanwhile, CGS-CIMB Research said Indonesia’s palm oil price has outperformed Malaysia in August.
It noted that Indonesia’s export policy has benefited its palm oil players, with CPO price in Indonesia rising by 14%, from 10,025 rupiah per kg (RM2,982 per tonne) on July 31 to 11,433 rupiah per kg (RM3,444 per tonne) as at Aug 31.
Malaysian palm oil producers were negatively impacted as spot CPO prices in Malaysia declined by 4% to RM4,098 per tonne during the same period, it pointed out.
“We are of the view that CPO prices in September will be supported at current levels despite rising stock.
“This is due to the sharp discount between Malaysia’s refined, bleached and deodorised palm olein freight-on-board and Argentine soya oil.”
It said the gap has widened to US$358 (RM1,608.14) per tonne as at Sept 1, 2022 versus an average of US$90 (RM404.28) per tonne in the five years until 2021.
“This would result in demand shifting towards palm oil in many importing countries to pare down stock, in our view,” said the research house.