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Indonesia’s palm oil export ban sparks concern over global food prices

It was necessary to bring down the domestic price of cooking oil as demand exceeds supplies.

SNS | New Delhi |

Indonesia announced on Friday a ban on palm oil exports in a bid to stymie the soaring domestic price of cooking oil. The ban from the world’s largest exporter has rocked an already precarious edible oil market. The price of cooking oil has soared as war rages between sunflower oil producers Russia and Ukraine.
Palm oil is the most produced, consumed and traded edible oil in the world.
The price of cooking oil has risen substantially as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of sunflower oil.

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told Reuters that Jakarta understood that the ban would hurt other countries, but stressed that it was necessary to bring down the domestic price of cooking oil as demand exceeds supplies.
Indrawati said that the government made what amounted to one of the “harshest moves” possible after previous measures failed to stabilize prices.

Indonesia’s government had previously required producers to reserve stocks for domestic use, but this did not succeed in bringing prices down to an affordable level for the country’s households. “It’s still too expensive for the ordinary household to buy these cooking oils,” Indonesia’s finance minister said.
“We know that this is not going to be the best result,” Indrawati said. “If we are not going to export, that’s definitely going to hit the other countries.”
India is the biggest importer of palm oil, which makes up 40% of its vegetable oil consumption, as per the USDA. India meets half of its annual need for 8.3 million tonnes of palm oil from Indonesia. Last year, the Centre also unveiled its plan to boost India’s domestic palm oil production. Association of India Executive Director DN Pathak said: “We have heard that Indonesia has now excluded crude palm oil from the export ban. If that has happened, it is very good thing as in an already tight market, a ban on CPO would have tightened supplies further. However, we are awaiting more clarity.”