KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 -- Malaysian palm oil exporters should take advantage of market opportunities in Romania, with its declining sunflower seed production, increasing oil and fat consumption and lack of adequate storage facilities, says the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).
Romania produces more than 700,000 metric tonnes (MT) of oils and fats annually, with sunflower oil comprising 65 per cent or 500,000 MT of total production. The country is the largest producer of sunflower seeds in the European Union.
However, production of sunflower seeds in the country is forecast to decline by 13 per cent in 2020/21 due to lower profit margins and crop rotation, compared with an expansion of 26 per cent in 2019/20, said MPOC.
“In view of the possibly lower crushing of edible seeds this year, it is very likely that Romania would import more vegetable oils in 2020.
“Their annual imports average 270,000 MT and in 2020 could reach 300,000 MT. This presents a superb opportunity for Malaysian oil to extend its presence within the country through marketing,” said MPOC in its website.
MPOC said Romania consumes 650,000 MT of oils and fats, with sunflower and rapeseed oils the main oils consumed, accounting for a combined 62 per cent of total consumption.
Consumption in the country is expected to reach 642,000 MT this year from 637,100 MT last year and 531,900 MT in 2015. Palm oil is the third most consumed vegetable oil behind sunflower and rapeseed oils.
MPOC said almost all the imported palm oil in Romania is consumed and there are no carryover stocks, indicating that the country has limited storage facilities and it would purchase only what is needed.
Despite being a net exporter, Romania still imports more than 110,000 MT of oils and fats. Palm oil tops the list of imported oils with annual imports at almost 60,000 MT, making up slightly more than 50 per cent of total imports.
Romania’s palm oil imports comprise between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of the total oils and fats imported into the country annually, and 80 per cent of the palm oil imported is via the Netherlands with the remainder from Malaysia.
In 2019, Malaysia exported 12,104 MT of palm oil valued at RM37.14 million. Refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm olein, the main category of palm oil imported, is used in prepared food industries.
“There are opportunities for Malaysian palm oil exports to Romania if Malaysian exporters could take advantage by exporting direct as it would save costs and be much cheaper than through third countries.
“We have been informed by sources that most of the palm oil imported is in flexibags, and is used mainly as ingredients for food processing and manufacturing,” MPOC added.