Indonesia Lifts Controversial Palm Oil Export Ban

President Joko Widodo said the decision came as a result of higher global supply and rising cooking oil prices at home.
May. 25, 2022
Ephantus Mukundi

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Indonesia, the world’s largest pro­ducer and exporter of palm oil, has lifted its month-long ban on palm oil exports.

While lift­ing the ban, President Joko Widodo cited enhanced sup­ply and higher domes­tic prices for palm oil as his rea­sons for end­ing the pro­hi­bi­tion.

Based on the cur­rent sup­ply and price of cook­ing oil and con­sid­er­ing that there are 17 mil­lion work­ers in the palm oil indus­try, both work­ing farm­ers and other sup­port­ing staff, I have decided that the export of cook­ing oil will reopen,” Widodo said in a video state­ment.

See Also:Unilever Bets on Blockchain Tech for Deforestation-Free Certified Palm Oil

Exports, which resumed on May 23, are expected to offer relief from high veg­etable oil prices. Prices of edi­ble oils have been climb­ing steadily since the onset of the Covid-19 pan­demic.

According to mar­ket ana­lysts, lift­ing the ban will increase the avail­abil­ity of cook­ing oil in the global mar­ket and help lower prices.


The mar­ket had come down by 5 per­cent after Indonesia announced on May 19 that it will lift the ban on the export of palm oil,” Sandeep Bajoria, chief exec­u­tive of Sundin Group, a Mumbai-based edi­ble oil importer, told the Economic Times.

However, as it sub­se­quently clar­i­fied that exporters will have to meet domes­tic mar­ket oblig­a­tions, prices again increased by 4 per­cent on May 20,” he added.

The cook­ing oil indus­try has been expe­ri­enc­ing upheavals since 2021. Apart from the effects of the pan­demic, which saw prices steadily increase, the Russian inva­sion of Ukraine has com­pli­cated mat­ters fur­ther.

Ukraine is a sig­nif­i­cant pro­ducer of sun­flower oil, a palm oil com­peti­tor. Russia’s inva­sion of Ukraine dis­rupted pro­duc­tion and sup­ply lines aggra­vat­ing the cook­ing oil sec­tor fur­ther.

Despite this, the United States Department of Agriculture esti­mates that global oilseed pro­duc­tion will rise in the 2022/23 crop year as the result of bumper canola oil crops in Canada and the European Union and strong soy­bean pro­duc­tion in South America.

However, palm oil is the most pop­u­lar veg­etable oil glob­ally and an essen­tial com­po­nent in almost every­thing from food to cos­met­ics.

It is esti­mated that palm oil and its derivates are used in about 50 per­cent of all pack­aged prod­ucts in stores. Indonesia’s ban pushed up costs across mul­ti­ple sup­ply chains, which fur­ther exac­er­bated the impacts of global infla­tion.

High prices of veg­etable oil have squeezed con­sumers glob­ally for months at a time when the world is con­tend­ing with spik­ing prices of food items.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), March saw the high­est-ever jump in food prices.

War in the Black Sea region spread shocks through mar­kets for sta­ple grains and veg­etable oils,” the FAO said.

When Indonesia announced the ban in April, the price of palm oil went up by about 200 per­cent.

The Indonesian pres­i­dent said that though the coun­try had not achieved its tar­get, he expected palm oil prices to fall in the com­ing weeks as palm oil avail­abil­ity increased.

In sev­eral regions, I know prices of cook­ing oil were still rel­a­tively high, but I believe in com­ing weeks they will be more afford­able,” Widodo said.



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