POINTERS 2014 MPOC
Palm Oil Internet Seminar
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Section 1 : CPO Price Trend:
A Review of India’s Palm Oil Import Trend 2020
By: Ms. Azriyah Azian

Azriyah Azian holds a BBA (Hons) in Marketing from Universiti Tenaga Nasional. She started her career in Public Relations and has since clocked more than 15 years working experience in the service industry that includes marketing, public relations and event management. She joined MPOC in 2009 as Market Analyst overseeing oils and fats situation in Europe region. To date, she has produced articles and reports that have been published in MPOC Fortune magazine, POINTERS on Price Trends, Palm Oil Market Development Report (POMDR) and MPOC website; as well as presented at Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS) in Moscow, Russia and MPOC Industry Interaction in 2013; Regional Workshop during POTS KL 2014 and Malaysian Palm Oil Networking Seminar in Warsaw, Poland in 2015 and other MPOC seminars. She is currently in charge of the Sub-Continent region.

In addition, she has also been emceeing many MPOC events in the past as well as a number of programmes in conjunction with the Love MY Palm Oil campaign. Due to her presence among the industry members, she has been invited to be the Master of Ceremonies for the palm oil industry’s events. Among them include the Incorporated Society of Planters for their International Planters Conference (IPC 2012, IPC 2016 and IPC 2019) and National Seminar (NatSem 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018) as well as ISP’s conference/seminar dinners; Malaysian Estate Owners’ Association (MEOA) Annual Dinner and Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia (PORAM) Annual Dinner.


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India is the world's leading importer of edible oils and is likely to remain an important source of global import demand for the foreseeable future. Income and population growth continue to drive the import demand into India. Apart from that, the country’s key changes in trade policy is also an important contributor to India's increasing consumption and imports. In 2019, India’s reduction on its import taxes on crude and refined palm oil from Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries has seen higher imports of palm oil by the world’s biggest edible oil buyer. The duty on crude palm oil was lowered to 37.5% from 40%, while a tax on the refined variety was cut to 45% from 50%.

The move had benefitted both Malaysia and Indonesia. Prior to 2018, Malaysia held 26% of market share whilst Indonesia held 74%. That scenario had changed in 2019 when Malaysia enjoyed an import duty advantage under Malaysia-India Agreement or MICECA. As a result of the duty advantage, exports of palm products from Malaysia to India increased by 75.40% in Jan-Dec 2019, compared to the same period of 2018. The market share for Malaysia has increased to 49% bringing down Indonesian market share to 51%. In total, MPO exports to India recorded 4,409,511 MT in 2019 against 2,514,008 MT which was registered in 2018.

The influx of cheaper RBD palm olein from Malaysia did not go well with the domestic industry hence, the imposition of the safeguard duty on 5th September 2019. Even after the implementation, India continued to import RBD palm olein from Malaysia. Then came the events where Malaysian Government made its stand on a few of India’s internal policies that resulted in an eventual diplomatic row between the two nations.

On 8th January 2020, The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India issued a notification declaring that the import of refined palm oil "is amended from 'Free' to 'Restricted’. The decision to impose the restrictions on imports of palm oil and palm olein is widely believed and reported as retaliation against Malaysia and to effectively block palm oil imports from Malaysia.

This paper will evaluate the impact of India’s latest policy and will also look at the market factors for domestic oils and fats production, consumption as well as trade in India's edible oil sector, and the market potential for Malaysia’s exporters.


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Questions & Answers (1) :
George Teh
3 days ago
Dear Ms Azriyah Azian, as India is the world’s largest oils and fats importer, what is your assessment of the relief Malaysian palm oil exporters could obtain by seeking mitigation from ASEAN and MENA? In particular, Malaysian exporters appear to have reached saturation point in the Turkish market (thanks to FTA, according to the findings of Ms Fatimah Zaharah) but have mixed results in other MENA countries (e.g., lack of success in Saudi Arabia and Egypt attributed to price and supply factors, according to the findings of Ms Fatimah Zaharah). Thank you.
Azriyah Azian:
Thank you for the question Mr. Teh. The increased demand of CPO in India which is mostly being met by Indonesian suppliers will create a vacuum in other markets like ASEAN and MENA which can be met by Malaysian suppliers. Both these regions have potential for expansion in HoReCa sector especially in countries like the Philippines, Myanmar and Vietnam. Growing middle class consumers in the Philippines will spur the demand of palm oil alongside the change in their lifestyle; as well as rising hotel chains and restaurants that will boost the demand for cooking oil. In Myanmar, growing middle class consumers will result in preference towards trusted brands which offers new ventures in packed oil segments. Significant growth in Vietnam manufacturing sector will lead to increased demand of palm oil due to significant growth in food manufacturing industry. Other countries in MENA region such as Oman and Qatar can also serve as new markets for MPO. Although Malaysia has lost some market shares in Saudi Arabia in 2019, we will continue to explore the opportunities to regain our shares in the Saudi market as it still remains one of the largest markets for palm oil in this region. Physical investments or strategic ventures with local companies could help capture these markets. There is still a wide knowledge gap among palm oil users and authorities in this region. At the moment, with the misleading and inaccurate information on palm oil on social media, there is a need to provide accurate information to both buyers and end consumers. Generally, palm oil is being used for food manufacturing industry in MENA region particularly frying, bakery and confectionary. Continuous technical assistance would allow them to expand the usage of palm oil into other sectors such as cheese industry and nutraceutical. As some of the above markets are also price-sensitive, Malaysian companies must be prepared to stay competitive to the local buyers.
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