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aws全区号(www.2km.me)_Palm oil bulls to roar into 2022 on labour crunch, La Nina deluge

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Palm oil bulls will likely hold sway into early 2022

SINGAPORE: Palm oil bulls will likely hold sway into early 2022 as a chronic worker shortage in No. 2 grower Malaysia and heavier rains than usual in key growing areas disrupt production of the world’s most-consumed edible oil.

That could keep prices elevated after a record year in 2021 when benchmark futures rocketed to an all-time closing high of RM5,071 a tonne.

Although Malaysia is trying to expedite the arrival of much-needed foreign workers for its plantations, the spread of Omicron may scupper those plans, constrain harvesting and keep supplies tight.

In the first quarter, there may be attempts to reach new highs around RM5,200 and beyond, as supply tightness persists at a time of low seasonal production and festive demand for Lunar New Year, said Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, head of trading and hedging strategies at Kaleesuwari Intercontinental in Mumbai.

“But in subsequent quarters, prices will be pressured by good supplies and could decline to RM3,975 or even lower.”

Here are key things to watch in 2022:

> Labour squeezeAlthough Malaysia is trying to expedite the arrival of much-needed foreign workers for its plantations, the spread of Omicron may scupper those plans, constrain harvesting and keep supplies tight.

The production shortfall in Malaysia, which pushed palm to the forefront of the rally in global edible oils this year, could linger into early 2022, as planters may not receive new workers before mid-year.

That would further restrain output and potentially drive up benchmark futures in January and February, according to Sathia Varqa, owner of Palm Oil Analytics in Singapore.

“If promises are kept, we should see boots on the ground in May-June,” Varqa said, which would push up production significantly. Output may climb 6% to 19.2 million tonnes next year if workers return, he said.

Still, that forecast hinges on Omicron. A further spread of the new Covid-19 variant could see renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions, preventing new workers from reaching the plantations.

In top grower Indonesia, production patterns will likely return to normal next year, with first quarter yields the lowest, according to Togar Sitanggang, vice-chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association known as Gapki. He forecasts an increase of around 3% in full-year output to 48 million tonnes.

> La Nina

The spotlight is currently on La Nina, a weather pattern that causes drier weather in the crop-growing areas of South America while bringing heavier rainfall to palm oil regions of Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as to Australia.

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