MPOB Palmnews
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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Palm oil shipments to Pakistan are set totriple in November due to U.N.-organised purchases to help Afghan refugeesand ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, traders said onWednesday.Pakistan's palm oil imports, which may reach 220,000 tonnes this month,will be channeled to refugees fleeing U.S.-led strikes in neighbouringAfghanistan and to meet domestic demand.Pakistan normally buys up to 80,000 tonnes of palm oil a month from theworld's largest producers, Malaysia and Indonesia, but local consumptionis set to jump to 110,000 tonnes during the Ramadan."You have almost 900,000 refugees in Lahore and Peshawar. The U.N. orthe U.S. don't want to starve these people," said one trader in KualaLumpur."The U.N. basically gives out local tenders to local traders inPakistan," said the trader, adding the oil was purchased at $325-330 C&F atonne.The U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan has put thousands ofrefugees on the move and stoked fighting on the front lines betweenTaliban forces and the opposition Northern Alliance.The United Nations, which fears up to 1.5 million Afghans could flee,has called for surrounding states -- Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan,Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- to admit people trying to escape starvationand the U.S.-led bombing campaign.Traders said Malaysia was expected to ship some 160,000 tonnes of RBDpalm olein and RBD palm oil to Pakistan in November. Around 120,000 tonnesof oil had been booked so far.Shipments from Indonesia were set to reach 60,000 tonnes, in which40,000 tonnes had been booked, they said.

FREIGHT RATES RISETraders said freight rates to Pakistan from Malaysia and Sumatra inIndonesia had risen to $26-$28 a tonne this week from $24-$25 last weekbecause of an improvement in demand.Freight rates to India, the world's largest edible oil importer, alsorose by $1 to $23-$24 to the west coast and to $18-$19 to the east coaston better demand ahead of the Diwali Hindu festival of lights which peaksin mid-November.India's decision to cut crude palm oil (CPO) import duty to 65 percentfrom 75 last week also encouraged more purchases. India and Pakistan areMalaysia and Indonesia's main buyers.One trader in Kuala Lumpur said India was projected to buy 200,000tonnes palm oil from Malaysia and another 100,000 tonnes from Indonesia inNovember."Palm oil stocks in India is depleting because people keep buying oilfor the Diwali. Stocks, especially on the east coast had been drawn down,"said the trader.India, which bought 162,797 tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia inOctober, is unlikely to purchase more softoil this time because it stillhas around 220,000 tonnes of stocks, said the trader.Another trader said India had booked around 190,000 tonnes of palm oilfrom Malaysia and Indonesia in the first week of November alone.

CHINA SEEN RETURNINGSome traders said China, which also buys palm oil from Malaysia andIndonesia, had used up some 200,000 tonnes of its palm oil import quotafor the second half of this year and was expected to return to the marketthis month.China released a fresh import quota in July, totalling 700,000 tonnes,which equalled the amount it issued for the first half of this year, saidtraders.The country was expected to enter the market to buy around 200,000tonnes in November and the rest in December, they said.