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Malaysia's palm oil stocks could hit 3-1/2-year high as Indonesia boosts exports

By Rajendra Jadhav

AGRA, India, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Malaysia's palm oil stocks could rise to a 3-1/2-year high by the end of 2022 as exports are likely to take a hit from rival Indonesia waiving export levies to bring down stockpiles, a senior government official told Reuters.

Indonesian producers are moving to lighten their stocks at cheaper prices after Jakarta recently extended its export levy waiver to Oct. 31 in a reversal of course from an export ban in May that had shut them out of global trade.

"The way Indonesia is now releasing stocks, we anticipate for the next two to three months Malaysia's exports would go down," Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir, director general of industry regulator Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) told Reuters late on Wednesday.

The slowdown in exports could lift Malaysia's stocks at the end of December 2022 to 2.5 million tonnes, the highest since April 2019, Ahmad Parveez said on the sidelines of the Globoil conference in Agra, India.

Malaysia's palm oil stocks at the end of August climbed to their highest in 33 months, as output rose with peak production season getting underway.

In Indonesia, stocks have risen sharply because of the export curb from earlier in the year and actual inventories might be much more than official numbers, Ahmad Parveez said, adding that it has been offering palm oil at cheaper prices than Malaysia to ease massive stocks and help small farmers

"I won't be surprised if they extend the policy, although it depends on the stocks. They want to bring down the stocks to a manageable level," he said.

Malaysia could produce 18.5 million tonnes of palm oil in 2022, slightly higher than last year's 18.1 million tonnes, but even producing this amount would be a challenge as the planters are still not getting enough labour for harvesting, he said. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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