Thailand imposes export surcharge on crude palm oil

By Erin Voegele | June 11, 2012

A recent Global Agricultural Information Network report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service shows reports that Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce has imposed an export surcharge of approximately $317 per metric ton on crude palm oil, effective through June 30, 2012. According to the report, the move came following government action in April to import 40,000 tons of semirefined palm oil, which was done to alleviate shortages and increasing prices.

The report explains that Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce was worried that increased export prices have led to an increase in crude palm oil exports in recently months. “If this trend continues, the level of supplies would fall short of meeting domestic demand, for human consumption and biodiesel production, and the government fears it would not be able to control runaway domestic retail prices for refined palm oil,” the report stated.

The recent increase in exports is exponential. While Thailand exported only 293 metric tons of crude palm oil during the first quarter of 2011, 95,205 metric tons were exported the first quarter of this year. However, the report also noted that the measures taken by government have been opposed by crude palm oil crushers and oil palm farmers, and are likely to be suspended in the near-term.

Another GAIN report filed in June on the Malaysian market noted that the country’s crude palm oil production increased 5 percent in April, reaching 1.3 million tons. Output for April, however, was down 6.8 percent when compared to production levels over the same period in 2011. The Malaysian report also indicates a marginal increase in palm oil exports.

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