Asian Crude Palm Oil Watch 1Q23
Malaysian benchmark crude palm oil (CPO) spot prices have averaged around USD915 per tonne (t) so far in 1Q23, sharply lower than the average of around USD1,175/t in 2022, but a marked improvement from the end-September 2022 level of around USD700/t and the last 10-year average of USD730/t. Prices have been supported by market expectations of significantly higher biodiesel consumption in and lower exports from Indonesia, and the impact of heavy rainfall at the start of 2023 on output.
We expect CPO prices to weaken later in the year, driven by higher supply of palm and other vegetable oils due to favourable weather conditions. Our assumption of USD850/t for 2023 implies that prices will decline to below USD700/t by year-end, and we expect further weakness in 2024. A hit to sunflower seed oil supply due to the Russia-Ukraine war is a key upside risk to our expectations. Yields Improving, Labour Crunch Easing Latest production data from Malaysia and Indonesia indicate that yields are on an uptrend, helped by plentiful rainfall in the last few years and improved fertiliser application amid healthy prices and profitability. Malaysia’s CPO output in 2M23 jumped by 10%, while Indonesia’s palm oil production surged by 11% in 4Q22.
Source: Fitch Ratings