Major palm oil producer mulls solution to supply crisis

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Malaysia is preparing to lower its export tax on palm oil amid the global edible oil shortage and growing demand, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin told Reuters on Tuesday.

During these times of crisis, probably we can relax a little bit so that more palm oil can be exported,” Kamaruddin said, adding that the cut is planned to be a temporary measure. She noted that the tax could be slashed from the current 8% to as low as 4-6%.

According to the official, her department has already forwarded the cut proposal to the Finance Ministry, where a committee has been set up to determine its feasibility. Kamaruddin said she expects a decision as early as next month.

Apart from the tax cut, Malaysia also plans to prioritize the palm oil supply for food industries by halting the move to implement its B30 biodiesel mandate, in which part of Malaysian biodiesel is to be mixed with 30% palm oil, the official announced.

Malaysia is the world’s second-biggest producer of palm oil, which is used in a variety of products from food to household chemicals, and accounts for roughly 60% of the world’s vegetable oil shipments. According to Kamaruddin, several importers, including India, Iran, and Bangladesh, have urged Malaysia to cut the tax and even proposed barter trade for the commodity.

The shortage in the global edible oil market intensified after Russia’s military operation in Ukraine disrupted sunflower oil shipments, while the world’s largest palm oil producer, Indonesia, banned exports.

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