16 December 1998
Demand slumps for Malaysian palm oil
THE Malaysian palm oil industry is facing a fall in demand after several months when it was overstretched by exports.
Cargill has suspended operations at its 30,000 tonnes-a-month refinery in Kuantan, Pahang, and is waiting for the market to pick up before resuming operations.
The Kuok Group is also running a plant at below capacity to contain losses.
Price rises have affected demand from such important markets as India and Egypt. India has turned to cheaper soyabean oil and cut back on buying Malaysian refined palm olein. Egypt has warned Malaysian exports that it is looking for cheaper alternative products.
Interest in Malaysian oil has also been affected by better supplies from Indonesia. The countrys distribution system is returning to normal after the political unrest.