USDA cuts Malaysia’s Palm Oil production outlook for 2019-20

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates Malaysia’s 2019/20 palm oil production at 20.5 million metric tonnes (mmt), down 2 per cent from last month and down 1 percent from last year.

Harvested area is estimated at 5.35 million hectares, unchanged from last month, but up 1 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 3.83 million tonnes per hectare, down 3 per cent from last month and down 2 pe rcent from last year.

After above-average rainfall in 2017 and 2018, seasonal rains during 2019 under performed, negatively impacting current palm oil production. Latest reports from the Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB) indicate cumulative crude palm oil (CPO) production for October and November at 3.33 mmt, down 13 percent from last year and the lowest cumulative total for October and November since 2008.

Meanwhile Malaysia’s total palm oil stocks dropped 11 per cent to 2.01 million tonnes in December 2019 from 2.26 million tonnes recorded in the previous month., according to latest data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

Crude palm oil (CPO) stocks decreased by 11.58 per cent to 1.02 million tonnes in December from 1.15 million tonnes in November, while processed palm oil stocks lost 10.38 per cent to 987,579 tonnes from 1.1 million tonnes previously.

It also said CPO production depreciated 13.27 per cent to 1.33 million tonnes in December from 1.54 million tonnes in November, while palm kernel output was 12.8 per cent lower at 316,24 tonnes from 362,641 tonnes.

“Palm oil exports inched down 0.67 per cent in December to 1.4 million tonnes from 1.41 million tonnes in November, while exports of oleo-chemicals declined 8.9 per cent to 261,229 tonnes compared to 286,747 tonnes,” MPOB said.

Biodiesel exports in the month under review, however, surged 1.70 per cent to 44,904 tonnes from 44,153 tonnes in the preceding month, while exports of palm kernel cake fell 7.53 per cent to 205,07 tonnes from 221,772 tonnes. Meanwhile, palm kernel oil exports from Malaysia went up by 2.83 per cent in December 2019 to 92,431 tonnes from 89,886 tonnes in the preceding month, it said.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at

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