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JAKARTA: Indonesia’s palm oil exports fell 8.5% last year because of a volatile regulatory environment and sluggish output that is expected to continue this year, the Indonesia Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) said on Wednesday.

The world’s top palm oil producer exported 30.8 million tonnes of palm oil product in 2022, down from 33.7 million tonnes a year earlier.

To control soaring prices of domestic cooking oil last year, the government implemented various changes in palm oil export policy, including a three-week export ban starting in late April.

A slight drop in palm oil production last year amid rising domestic consumption in the energy sector also contributed to the lower exports, GAPKI Chairman Joko Priyono told a media briefing.

“Biodiesel consumption (last year) jumped because consumption of fuel rose after the pandemic,” he said.

Indonesia uses palm oil as a feedstock for its 30% mandatory blend in biodiesel. The blend will be raised to 35% in February and will be known as B35.

Palm oil slips for second session

Last year, the Southeast Asian nation produced 46.7 million tonnes of crude palm oil, down 0.4% from 2021. It also produced 4.5 million tonnes of palm kernel oil.

“This is the fourth year of stagnant output while domestic consumption continues rising,” Joko said.

“In 2023, we expect production to be stagnant again due to high fertiliser prices. Farmers have been using lower dosage, which would affect output this year.”

Indonesia’s palm oil stocks were 3.65 million tonnes by the end of 2022.

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