Turkey’s palm oil imports this year will drop by around 10% to around 690,000M tonnes due to weaker demand from the hotel, retail and catering (HoReCa) sector, according to forecasts by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).

A MPOC report noted that the HoReCa sector could be affected during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic period as tourism activities had dropped significantly. However, this was only expected to last until the end of April (depending on the latest development of COVID-19 in Turkey) as the authorities had indicated that peak tourism would start later than usual.

Despite the COVID-19 situation, demand for food had not dropped and interviews with local food manufacturing companies had indicated that most of their operations were running at full capacity. This was supported by PMI data as new orders had improved due to the recovery in demand and new export orders had also picked up. These were all positive factors for palm oil imports, the MPOC report said.

In terms of local supply, production of oilseeds - especially sunflowerseed - was expected to drop around 4%. A 7% drop in cottonseed production and a 2% drop in soyabean production were also forecast. This was due to the lower rainfall, especially in the Thrace region, compared to last year during the October 2019-January 2020 period.

As of February 2020, total exports of palm oil to Turkey recorded a 12,720M tonne increase compared to last year.

Turkey was one of the last countries in the world to record a positive coronavirus case. However, within two weeks, the number of positive cases had reached 2,433 with 59 reported deaths. The country had stepped up measures to restrict movement which had affected businesses and consumer spending, the MPOC said.