KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 (Bernama) -- Palm oil, the "golden crop" of Malaysia,will contribute to a better foreign exchange for the country in 2002 asthe commodity is currently enjoying better price compared with prices lastyear.
Last year the prices of the commodity were practically bearish, hoveringbetween RM680 and RM690 per tonne earlier in the year and picking up onlyin the second half of the year.
The price of palm oil is now moving in the range of RM1,200 and tradershave pegged resistance at RM1,300. Malaysia's Palm Oil Promotion Council's(MPOPC) chief executive officer, Datuk Haron Siraj, in sharing his viewswith Bernama recently said that for palm oil anything above the RM1,000level would be a welcome development.
He was confident that the commodity can sustain the RM1,200 level for thefirst quarter of the year and stay above the RM1,000 level in 2002. "Ihope it can be sustained at those levels in 2002. Thus, we should lookforward to better foreign exchange earnings from palm oil exports," hesaid.
In the year 2000, palm oil maintained its position as an important foreignexchange earner with a contribution of RM14.9 billion or about 2.7 percentto the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).He was confident that the 2001 foreign exchange earnings would remain inthe range of RM14 billion.
However, he said that better prices would not mean that the council willbe complacent as the market development of competitors such as soya oil,rape seed, sun flower and other lesser-known oils would continue.
"Changes that take place in the respective commodities' markets would havea substantial effect on the local palm oil industry," he said.
"The Argentinian crisis and the devaluation of its currency has to beclosely monitored," he said.
Thus, soya bean oil produced by Argentina will be cheaper compared withBrazil and America and this would create more competitiveness, as thosecountries are also major soya oil producers, he said.
He said the council was currently monitoring the situation and checking onhow the competitivess among the soya oil producers will impact palm oilprices in general.
However, as edible oils in general and palm oil in particular areassociated with daily consumption, the prices should not go down too far,he added on an optimistic note. -- BERNAMA