The crude palm oil (CPO) price continues to rise supported by the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon. El Nino causes a dry spell in Southeast Asia, home to the world's largest palm oil plantations. As a result, CPO inventories in Malaysia may have declined to 2.11 million tons, an 11-month low in February 2016. Meanwhile, Singapore-based agribusiness trader Olam International Ltd said CPO stocks will decline to the range of 1.5 - 2.0 million tons in the second quarter of 2016. Obstacles to higher CPO prices are Malaysia's strengthening ringgit (which curtails demand for Malaysian palm oil) and attractive prices of soybean oil.
20 January 2022 (closed)
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Today's Headlines Palm Oil
Again, crude palm oil (CPO) shipments from Indonesia - the world's largest CPO producer and exporter - declined. Based on the latest data from the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki), palm oil exports from Indonesia fell 16 percent on a month-on-month (m/m) basis to 2.1 million tons in January 2016. This decline was mainly caused by falling palm oil demand from the key export countries China and India.
On 24 January 2016, Indonesia Investments released the latest edition of its newsletter. This free newsletter, which is sent to our subscribers once per week, contains the most important news stories from Indonesia that have been reported on our website over the last seven days. Most of the topics involve economic matters such as foreign direct investment as well as updates on various industries such as coal mining, palm oil, geothermal power, oil & gas, cement, ceramics, 4G technology, and more.
Indonesia turned into a net oil importer in 2004 as domestic oil output declined sharply while domestic fuel consumption surged amid the growing economy (hence becoming more and more dependent on oil imports). Prior to 2016, the Indonesian government provided generous energy subsidies (for fuel and electricity), resulting in a deteriorating budget deficit, trade deficit, current account deficit, and pressure on the rupiah. Moreover, government spending on energy consumption limited room for government spending on productive sectors such as infrastructure and social development.
The value of Indonesia's exports of crude palm oil (CPO) and its derivatives plunged 11.8 percent year-on-year (y/y) to USD $18.6 billion in 2015 from USD $21.1 billion in the preceding year. However, in terms of volume, Indonesian exports of CPO and its derivatives actually rose 21.7 percent to 26.4 million tons. The higher volume but lower earnings are explained by the palm oil price. Palm oil traded at an average of USD $614.20 per ton in 2015, down 24.9 percent (y/y) from an average price of USD $818.20 per ton in 2014.
Persistent weak crude oil prices jeopardize smoothness of Indonesia's biodiesel program as cheap oil - currently trading below USD $30 per barrel - reduces demand for biodiesel and makes the biodiesel industry less economic viable. This year the government of Indonesia plans to launch the B20 biodiesel program (one notch up from the existing B15 program), referring to the requirement to blend a mandatory 20 percent of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME, derived from palm oil) with 80 percent of diesel.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Board (DMSI) expects Indonesian crude palm oil (CPO) exports to drop 8.7 percent (y/y) to 21 million tons next year from an estimated 23 million tons in 2015. This decline in export is attributed to an increase in domestic CPO consumption amid the full implementation of the country's B15 biodiesel program. Domestic consumption of CPO is estimated to grow 37 percent (y/y) from 8.4 million tons in 2015 to 11.5 million tons in 2016. If the B20 biodiesel program will be implemented as well, then Indonesia's CPO exports may decline further.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki) said Indonesia's crude palm oil exports stood at 2.38 million in November 2015, down 8.6 percent from CPO exports in the preceding month. This decline is attributed to weaker demand from Indonesia's main export markets and to the cheap price of soybeans (soybean oil is a close substitute to palm oil for food and biodiesel uses). However, on a year-on-year basis, Indonesia's CPO exports are up 21 percent (y/y) to 23.9 million in the January-November 2015 period.
While many of Indonesia's coal producers have ceased operations as the production cost margin turned negative, the country's crude palm oil (CPO) producers are still making a profit despite palm oil prices also having weakened sharply in recent years. The Palm Oil Agribusiness Strategic Policy Institute (Paspi) said that production costs for palm oil producers stand in the range of USD $250 to USD $300 per ton, implying that with current CPO prices at around USD $550 per ton, CPO producers still make a reasonable profit.
On 29 November 2015, Indonesia Investments released the latest edition of its newsletter. This free newsletter, which is sent to our subscribers once per week, contains the most important news stories from Indonesia that have been reported on our website over the last seven days. Most of the topics involve economic matters such as updates on inflation, the palm oil industry, purchasing power, the coal mining industry, IPOs, radical Islam, sustainable finance, the timber industry, and more.
Latest Columns Palm Oil
Last week, president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono extended the moratorium on new permits to convert natural forests and peat lands for a further two years. In 2011, Indonesia's government signed the two-year primary forest moratorium that came into effect on 20 May 2011 and expired in May 2013. This moratorium implies a temporary stop to the granting of new permits to clear rain forests and peat lands in the country. The moratorium particularly aims to limit Indonesia's quickly expanding palm oil industry.
Although the United States continues its traditional focus on direct investments in developed countries, primarily in Western Europe, there has been a significant rise in US investments in Indonesia in recent years. Whereas US investments in the developed economies of Western Europe is mostly found in the financial sector and through holding companies, in developing Asia, the US is more focused on the manufacturing sector due to lower production costs. In the last two years, the US emerged as the second-largest investor in Indonesia after Japan.
Shareholders of Astra Agro Lestari, Indonesia's largest agribusiness company by value (which is particularly engaged in palm oil and rubber plantations), agreed to distribute IDR 1.08 trillion (USD $111 million) in dividends to its shareholders. The allocated amount is equivalent to about 45 percent of the company's net profit in 2012. Dividend per share is set at IDR 685 (USD $0.071). Last November, the company had already paid interim dividend of IDR 230 per share. Final dividend will be paid on 3 June 2013.
Indonesian companies engaged in the production of a variety of agricultural products, such as palm oil, experienced a rather poor year in 2012 regarding net profit. Global economic turmoil has reduced the world's consumption of palm oil in both the developed markets and developing markets. In particular decreased demand from China, the world’s biggest buyer after India, made a negative impact on the balance sheets of Indonesian companies.
Associated businesses Palm Oil
- Astra Agro Lestari
- Astra International
- Austindo Nusantara Jaya
- Bakrie Sumatera Plantations
- Dharma Satya Nusantara
- Eagle High Plantations
- Eterindo Wahanatama
- Golden Plantation
- Gozco Plantations
- Indofood Sukses Makmur