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Malaysia's end-Sep palm oil stocks seen hitting near three-year peak

Malaysia's end-Sep palm oil stocks seen hitting near three-year peak

A man unloads the fresh fruit bunches from his car boot at a palm oil fruit collection centre for smallholders in Banting, Selangor, Malaysia on Jun 10, 2022. (File photo: Reuters/Hasnoor Hussain)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's palm oil inventories at end-September likely swelled to their biggest in nearly three years amid peak production season, a Reuters survey showed on Wednesday (Oct 5).

Stockpiles rose 8 per cent from August to 2.27 million tonnes, the highest since October 2019, according to the median estimate of nine traders and analysts polled by Reuters.

Output in the world's second-largest producer rose for a fourth consecutive month. It grew 2 per cent to 1.76 million tonnes.

Exports rose 8 per cent to 1.41 million tonnes as top buyer India stocked up on edible oil ahead of the Diwali festival in October.

India's imports of palm oil jumped in September to their highest in a year, boosted by strong demand for the tropical oil ahead of the festival season and a steep discount compared to rival oils.

Demand for palm oil has been subdued as tough COVID-19 restrictions and intermittent lockdowns in key importer China hurt consumption levels, weighing on the benchmark futures contract.

Investors will watch for any announcement on an easing of China's zero-COVID policy during its ruling Communist Party's national congress beginning Oct 16, a Kuala Lumpur-based analyst said.

"When the country starts to revert to a new post-COVID normal, demand can be expected to pick up," the analyst said.

Indonesia, the world's biggest producer of palm oil, may extend an export levy waiver on the edible oil to the end of this year. Cheaper Indonesian exports may draw demand away from Malaysia.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) is scheduled to release its data on Oct 11.

Source: Reuters/st
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