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Khairlia Khairulzaman


The Edge Markets MY



2019 a 'turning point' for palm oil industry, says FGV chairman

6 Mac 2019 (The Edge Markets MY) KUALA LUMPUR : After a year of bleak crude palm oil (CPO) prices, FGV Holdings Bhd, the world's largest CPO producer, sees this year as the "turning point" for the palm oil industry.

"I believe that it will be a turning point this year [as] we get a clearer picture about the government policy, as well as the market supply and demand situation," FGV chairman Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid told theedgemarkets.com on the sidelines of the Palm & Lauric Oils Price Outlook Conference & Exhibition 2019.

He said the group will focus on improving productivity and weeding out inefficiencies.

Azhar said the group is adopting a prudent stance this year, with a projected average CPO price of RM2,250 a tonne. At 4.24pm today, the benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery was trading RM11 lower at RM2,150 a tonne.

"We are not going to be too optimistic, nor will we be too pessimistic. For us, we are looking at an average of RM2,250 a tonne [this year]. Because really, there is nothing that can tell me that things are moving in terms of pricing.

"I don't see reasons to change [the current estimates we have for CPO prices]," said Azhar, adding however that the high stock of palm oil remains worrying.

"The [impact] from the biodiesel mandate takes a while to kick in although the government has decided on the B10 mandate. It is not going to happen immediately. I would say for 2019, we are not going to be too adventurous," he added.

Commenting on the possibility of an El Nino weather pattern forming this year, which could lend support to prices, Azhar said different pockets of FGV's plantation are experiencing different types of weather conditions.