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Palm oil experts see continued price recovery

October 30, 2014 Leave a comment
KUALA LUMPUR: OIL palm planters were a little happier at the recently-concluded Palm Oil Trade Seminar (POTS) 2014 when experts gave hopeful outlook on palm oil prices.

Hamburg-based ISTA Mielke GmbH executive director Thomas Mielke started off his forecast of palm oil pricing by assuring planters not to be carried away by bearish sentiment. “Price recovery is fundamentally justified.”

He explained that palm oil, which is mainly used for food, is increasingly influenced by petroleum prices as countries all over the world look to excess edible oils as substitutes to depleting fossil fuels.

“If crude oil prices were to fall to US$75 (or RM245.20) a barrel or lower, palm prices could drop, too. This would trigger the swing factor … the demand in the energy sector that is not mandated,” said Mielke. 

With sustained demand for cooking oil and margarine from the global food industry, Mielke thinks palm oil prices are unlikely to drop below RM2,000 a tonne in the next couple of months.

He expects palm oil futures to climb further and trade between RM2,300 and RM2,500 a tonne by the first quarter of 2015. 

Yesterday, the third month benchmark palm oil futures on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives gained RM50 to close at RM2,263 a tonne.

This year, world production of palm oil is likely to rise to a record high of 59 million tonnes from last year’s 56 million tonnes. 

Mielke, a well-respected and authoritative vegetable oil analyst, once again, rejected calls by green activists for a moratorium on oil palm plantings.

“The environmental activists like to pretend or dream of a world without palm oil. It would be terrible for consumers, especially those in developing countries where two thirds of the world population resides. The truth is, we cannot replace palm oil, at least not in large volumes,” he said.

Jupiter Securities chartist Benny Lee said price recovery has already begun. “Palm oil prices are likely to be on the uptrend, supported by the strengthening of the US dollar and implementation of the B7 biodiesel mandate in the country.”

Godrej International Ltd director Dorab Mistry was also optimistic when he said the worst is over. “Planters can look forward to better times. I think palm oil is likely to trade in a range of RM2,100 to RM2,300 a tonne in the next several weeks.

“In December, I expect futures to rise steadily as production declines begin to bite and stocks decline. However, given the current macro economic outlook, I do not expect a runaway bull market. I think prices are likely to appreciate to RM2,500 a tonne by March next year,” he said. 

I’m smiling again

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

The clock is ticking and it is getting late in the evening. I’m grumbling to myself that I’m having to work night shift today. 

That means I would be crawling through the jam-packed streets to get back to office by dinner time. Uuugghh!

I was suddenly “woken” from the monotony of listening to speakers after speakers delivering their speeches when a newly met friend gave me a packet a chocolate. Yay!

This is the first time in my career as a journalist covering a palm oil conference when I’m suddenly surprised with a packet of crunchy chocolate wafers.

This newly met friend was rushing to get back to Singapore and he graciously gave me this lovely gift made from palm specialty fats.

It brought a smile to my face. Today’s conference coverage is not so boring after all.

FGV sells more biodiesel to China

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) is expanding its biodiesel business in China with the second shipment of 6,000 tonnes of palm oil methyl ester (PME) to Dongguan Port, Guangdong.

The company successfully made a maiden shipment of 6,000 tonnes of PME to Nansha Port, Guangzhou, last month.

Group president and chief executive officer Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah said the first shipment was a highly significant development for FGV’s biodiesel ambitions.

“By successfully penetrating the China market, FGV is on track to achieving its biodiesel global growth targets.

“China is one of the biggest biodiesel markets in the world. Given its huge energy requirements and reliance on biodiesel imports, we can meet this demand by virtue of being Malaysia’s largest PME exporter,” he said in a statement yesterday.

FGV currently accounts for 31.59 per cent of Malaysia’s PME exports, he said, adding biodiesel trade between China and Malaysia is poised to rise, based on the former’s rapidly growing interest in renewable energy.

From January to August, China had imported 590,777 tonnes of biodiesel from around the world.

The usage of PME is gaining popularity because the growing of the feedstock is sustainable from its economic, environment and social aspects. Fossil energy balance, which is the ratio between renewable energy output and fossil energy input is a good factor to compare biofuel sources. 

Topping the list is PME with a fossil energy balance of 9. This means that a litre of palm oil biofuel contains nine times the amount of energy as that required for its production. Sugar cane has values ranging from 2 to 8. Other feedstocks such as rapeseed, soya and corn have values which fall between 1 and 4.

When it comes to yield productivity, sugar cane and palm oil rank the highest. Sugar cane yields 6,000 litres of biofuel per hectare (l/ha), followed by oil palm and sugar beet (5,000-6,000 l/ha) but palm oil is superior as it has 27 per cent higher energy content (30.53 MJ/l) than ethanol from sugarcane (24MJ/l). 

Moderately efficient feedstock’s such as corn, cassava and sweet sorghum yield 1,500-4,000 litres of biofuel per hectare( l/ha). Rapeseed, wheat and soya are the least efficient, yielding less than 1,500 l/ha.

Joint efforts to tackle palm oil trade barriers

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment
KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIA, in welcoming the inauguration of the Jokowi administration, looks to Indonesia for continued efforts in poverty alleviation by jointly tackling smear campaigns and barriers to palm oil trade. 

Indonesia President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo unveiled his Cabinet line-up recently to govern Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and the world’s big supplier of coal, rubber, palm oil and mineral ores. 

“As main producers of palm oil, contributing to the world’s food security, Malaysia is on the same page as Indonesia in developing agriculture in a way that balances the needs of people, planet and profits,” said Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron on the sidelines of the Palm Oil Trade and Seminar, here, yesterday. 

“We were informed that our ministry will be seeking to continue bilateral talks to address the opening of markets that are increasingly hindered by non-tariff trade barriers and protectionism,” he added.

A business-matchmaking session between palm oil buyers and suppliers, chalking up more than 100 appointments, was arranged in conjunction to this gathering of some 400 trade delegates.

“Oil palm planting and palm oil exports provide developing nations a path out of poverty. The growing of oil palms, the world’s most efficient oil crop, is helping the people of Malaysia and Indonesia to improve their standard of living,” said Yusof.

On striking a balance between the needs of people, planet and profits, Yusof said many tend to overlook that oil palms, just like other trees in the forest, contribute to carbon sinking. In times of surplus, excess palm oil also serves as an alternative to depleting fossil fuel.

Oil palm planting allows Indonesia and Malaysia to supply affordable and nutritious cooking oil and margarine to billions of people in developing nations such as China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam. 

According to Oil World trade journal, Malaysia and Indonesia collectively export the bulk of 56 million tonnes of palm oil.

In the last five years, Malaysia earned between US$15 billion and US$20 billion (RM50 billion and RM70 billion) a year from palm oil exports. Indonesia Palm Oil Commission reportedly said the republic earns US$10 billion annually from palm oil shipments.

Malaysia’s annual palm oil exports worth US$20 billion support two million jobs along the sprawling palm oil value chain.

Despite its positive attributes, Yusof said the oil palm industry continued to face discrimination. “Environmental activists continue to dictate certification criteria and lobby for the European Union Renewable Energy Directive which discriminates against palm oil. This discrimination is against rules laid down by the World Trade Organisation.”

I’m smiling

October 26, 2014 1 comment

I usually go to this place, that has a green mermaid logo, for coffee.

🙂 Just so you know … there’s healthy palm specialty fats in latte.  

People in the service industry, especially retail, are trained to be skillful in the art of making customers feel special. 

After I placed my order, the barista whipped out his marker pen and asked for my name. I smiled and replied, “today, I’m Snow White.”

His eyes widened and he chuckled. “So, where are all your seven dwarfs?” he asked.

That got me laughing. Today’s a special day for me. Love this!

Smile! You’re on camera

October 26, 2014 Leave a comment
I’ve put up a posting before on synchronised swimming and palm oil. This time, it is featuring Team Malaysia synchronised swimmers. Aged 15 to 25, these group of girls diligently undergo gruelling training of six hours a day, six days in a week at the Bukit Jalil Aquatic Centre, Selangor.


Synchronised swimming — an aquatic sport that fuses flexibility, balance, endurance, strength and … palm oil? Yes, one of the critical elements of synchronised swimming that captures the judges’ attention is the make-up.

Unknown to many, water-proof cosmetics such as lipstick, moisturiser, hair gel and sun bloc are oleochemical derivatives, which in turn are processed from palm oil.


To last for a whole performance — equal to at least four laps up and down the Olympic size pool — synchonised swimmers’ water-proof make-up have to be “strong” enough to withstand a tough beating underwater. To get the right look …

1. Apply a layer of primer on their eyes to help the eye shadow stay on.
2. Then apply layer after layer of shadow, caking it on so that it is bright and doesn’t get washed after one dunk in the pool.
3. Then come the layers of eyeliner and mascara — the more the better — to make their features stand out.

Synchronised swimmers also slick back their hair using super-sticky gel, made from oleochemicals. This gooey stuff helps keep their silky mane at bay throughout the competition. It only melts away after 30 minutes of hot shower.


Beneath these bright layers of make-up and pretty smiles are hours of insane athleticism exerted day-in-day-out to make synchronised swimming look delightfully easy on the eyes.

Bursa Malaysia Bull Run 2014

October 21, 2014 1 comment

The New Straits Times is covering this event because parent Media Prima Group is the new partner of Bursa Malaysia’s charity marathon. It takes place today in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Media Prima Television Network chief executive officer Ahmad Izham Omar and his chief operating officer Seelan Paul are there in their running shoes.

Among the more “sporting” representatives from publicly-listed plantation companies at this charity run are Felda Global Ventures Holding Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd.

Bursa Bull Charge tracks a 5km run following Kuala Lumpur’s Capital Market Trail, a route throughout the Central Business District that passes the headquarters of many of Malaysia’s capital market players in our community, a reminder of the sustainability of the marketplace.

The run categories include a 1.5km CEOs Run, a 5.0km Individual Run and a Corporate Relay Run.

Among the 1,300-odd enthusiastic participants from the capital market community include government agencies, regulators, brokers, listed companies, traders, remisiers, trading partners and the media. There’s a special category of relay run among young executives.

Key sponsors are Maybank Investment Bank, SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd, YTL Corp Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, Berjaya Corp Bhd, Protasco Bhd and PESTECH Sdn Bhd.




At one point, Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Tajuddin Atan’s “running mate” is CIMB Group Holdings Bhd acting chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz. 

Tajudddin said this is part of the stock exchange’s initiatives towards building financial literacy, especially among young executives.

“This inaugural Bursa Bull Charge is a physical demonstration of marketplace inclusiveness that we have been working hard at building up and hopefully, reach out to the wider community. This is one way for Bursa Malaysia to raise awareness and remind us of our responsibility to give back and invest in local communities,” he said.

“We recognise the role of young executives as future leaders and entrepreneurs. By involving them in the Bursa Bull Charge to run alongside CEOs and captains of the industry, we hope young executives would feel inspired of the possibilities and opportunities available in the marketplace, be it a career or in building wealth”, said Tajuddin.

All proceeds raised from the Bursa Bull Charge will be channeled to charity while Bursa Malaysia and the sponsor partners will absorb all costs incurred in organising the run.