Three Chinese firms signed deals with four Malaysian companies to import 1.62M tonnes of palm oil products worth US$891M following the Malaysia-China Palm Oil Business Forum at the start of March, the Ministry of Primary Industries reported on 4 March.

The deals were between:

· Yantai Tianmao Edible Ltd Co and Sime Darby Plantation Berhad for the purchase of 100,000 tonnes of refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm stearin.

· Yihai Kerry (Shanghai) International Trade Co Ltd and PGEO Marketing Sdn Bhd for the purchase of 1.3M tonnes of RBD palm olein.

· Yizheng Fangshun Industry Ltd Co and Cacao Paramount Sdn Bhd (a Teck Guan Group subsidiary) for the purchase of 120,000 tonnes of RBD palm stearin.

· Yizheng Fangshun Industry Ltd Co and SOP Edible Oils Sdn Bhd for the purchase of 100,000 tonnes of RBD palm olein.

“China was Malaysia’s second biggest importer of palm oil and palm-based products in 2018,” the ministry said.

Malaysia exported 3.07M tonnes of palm oil and palm products last year to China, an increase of 7.3% compared with 2.86M tonnes in 2017, the ministry said. The export of Malaysian palm biodiesel to China increased significantly from 140 tonnes in 2017 to 41,450 tonnes in 2018.

The ministry said that the increase in palm oil imports by China, especially during mid-2018, was due to trade tensions with the USA. China had imposed higher import taxes on US soyabeans that subsequently lowered soyabean imports. In addition, the increased price of Brent oil and petrol diesel had also led to a market shift in favour of palm oil.

“The ministry expects China to continue to source more palm oil from Malaysia in order to meet its growing demands for food and animal feed.”