The Star Online (02/01/2021) - PLANTERS ushered in the new year in a euphoric mood as crude palm oil (CPO) continues to extend its rally trading above RM3,800 per tonne, which is almost a decade-high price.
However, despite the higher CPO prices, most planters are expecting mixed performance in their earnings outlook for this year with the industry currently facing severe workers shortage in the estates.
This situation has turned for the worst with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic that restricts foreign workers recruitment which could lead to crop losses in the labour intensive oil palm sector.
Other headwinds for planters in 2021 include the resumption of the palm oil export duties, the return of windfall tax due the higher CPO prices and the imposition of an additional cess payment by the government.
On the supply and demand side, the potential impact of the La Nina weather phenomenon could also affect CPO production this year.
The MPOB’s latest statistics showed that palm oil stocks in November 2020 slumped to 1.56 million tonnes, which is the lowest since June 2017.
CPO production for the same period under review also dropped to 1.49 million tonnes, the lowest since March 2020.
On the international front, sustainability issues saw the US Customs and Border Protection Agency placing a ban on imports of palm oil based products from FGV Holdings Bhd