Sales of palm oil for oleochemical products in Indonesia rose by 14.5% during March, the Jakarta Globe quoted the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) as saying on 13 May.

Gapki said domestic consumption of palm in March had decreased by 3.2% - from 786,000 tonnes in February to 721,000 tonnes in March.

Local food consumption had also fallen by 8.3% during the same period, while sales of palm oil for oleochemical products had risen by 14.5%.

“Palm oil consumption fell as food consumption fell. People are uncertain when the [Covid-19] pandemic will be over. Meanwhile, hand sanitiser products need more palm oil to ramp up production,” Gapki director Mukti Sardjono said.

Out of 68,000 tonnes of palm oil sold to the oleochemical industry, 55% had been for hand sanitisers, he said.

Meanwhile, palm oil exports had risen by 3.3% or 185,000 tonnes from 2.53M tonnes in February to 2.72M tonnes in March.

The biggest export increases during the period had been to Bangladesh, South Africa and China.

“The export surge to China started happening once they managed to get a handle on COVID-19,” Mukti said.

Exports to Pakistan and the USA had gone down while exports to Europe, the Middle East and India had been normal.