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Indonesia lifts ban on cooking oil export as supply improves

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (AP) – Indonesia said yesterday it will lift a month-long ban on palm oil export, citing improvements in the supply and domestic price of bulk cooking oil.

President Joko Widodo said exports will resume on Monday.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s largest exporters of palm oil, which plays an important role in their economies. They account for 85 per cent of global palm oil production.

Pressure on the global supply of cooking oil has increased because of the war in Ukraine, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s sunflower oil on top of the 25 per cent from Russia.

Palm oil prices went up 200 per cent or higher after Indonesia banned the export of cooking oil and its raw materials to reduce local shortages and hold down skyrocketing prices.

Widodo said in a news conference that his government was planning to lift the ban if the price of bulk cooking oil reached IDR14,000 (USD0.96) per litre.

He said it still has not reached the target but he expects it to drop further in the next few weeks as more palm oil becomes available.

“Based on the current supply and price of cooking oil and considering that there are 17 million workers in the palm oil industry, both working farmers and other supporting staff, I have decided that the export of cooking oil will re-open on Monday, May 23,” Widodo said.

He said that the national demand for bulk cooking oil is approximately 194,000 tonnes per month. Before the export ban, the supply reached 64,500 tonnes, and since then, it more than tripled to over 211,000 tonnes per month. He said that law enforcement agencies are investigating allegations of violations and fraud in the distribution and production of cooking oil.