MPOC anticipates palm oil prices to surpass RM3,700 this month

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) anticipates that palm oil prices will remain resilient in February, trading above RM3,700. 

It said that the resistance for palm oil prices is anticipated to be RM3,950 due to the weak global demand for vegetable oil. 

"The price development of palm oil at the beginning of 2024 reinforces the potential shift in global palm oil supply and demand dynamics towards a deficit growth pattern. 

"Therefore, palm oil prices are expected to remain resilient, trading above RM3,700 in February," it said in a statement. 

Malaysia's palm oil stocks declined to a six-month low of 2.02 million tonnes in January,

down by 11.83 per cent. Simultaneously, production also dropped to a nine-month low of 1.40 million tonnes, aligning with the inventory trend.

"While January 2024 production dropped by 9.9 per cent month-on-month to 1.40 million tonnes, it still posted a year-on-year increase of 1.59 per cent, marking the highest production level for January since 2019.

"This supports the anticipation that the palm oil production trend witnessed in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 will continue into Q1 2024.

" In Q4 2023, production increased by 0.16 million tonnes, from 5.11 to 5.27 million tonnes compared to the same period in 2022," it said. 

It added February is a shorter month, with only 29 days, coinciding with the Chinese New Year Celebration, which means there will be fewer days available for harvesting. 

Furthermore, palm oil domestic consumption in Malaysia is expected to remain robust in February, especially with the upcoming Ramadan month following the Chinese New Year. 

"As a result, palm oil stocks are forecast to drop below two million tonnes in February.

The robust performance of palm oil prices in January is predominantly driven by subdued production caused by the monsoon and higher demand ahead of the upcoming Ramadan month, Chinese New Year, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri festival."

As of February 13, palm oil prices in Europe were trading at a premium of US$38, US$35, and US$37 over soybean, sunflower, and rapeseed oil, respectively. 

It said this unfavourable price spread is likely to prompt global traders to fulfil their vegetable oil demand with soft oils. 

"Therefore, a price recovery is anticipated for soft oils in February and March, while palm oil prices are expected to remain unchanged."

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