POINTERS 2014 MPOC
Palm Oil Internet Seminar
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Section 2: Global Palm Oil Market Opportunities:
Middle East North Africa (MENA) Region – The Prospect of Malaysian Palm Oil
By: Ms. Fatimah Zaharah

Ms. Fatimah Zaharah is currently in charge of the Middle East and North Africa region. She was previously the officer in charge of sub-continent region covering India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and CAR. Her responsibilities include data and market statistics analysis, assessment of potential market expansion areas, palm oil issues management and promotion in the region. Prior to working with MPOC, she was with Marketing Divison of an Oleochemical company handling markets such as USA, Japan, India and Iran. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Degree in Economics from Marquette University, Wisconsin, USA.


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Middle East and North Africa (MENA) comprises of 25 countries with a population of almost 700 million people or 10% of the total world population. It is a region with colorful landscapes posed many challenges to trades including oils and fats. In some countries like Libya, Syria and Yemen, uncertainty and post war violence continue to hinder progress. However, there are positive developments documented in some countries in the region such as reconstruction of Iraq and social and economic reforms in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

MENA, particularly GCC countries are well connected with other countries across the globe due to their position as major oils and gas exporters. On the other hand, they are dependent on imports for the supply of food items including vegetable oils.

The region does not produce sufficient oilseed for domestic use, it has to depend on imported oilseed and oils and fats to supplement its domestic requirement of oils and fats. The market currently consumed 27% of palm oil, 25% of sunflower oil and 19% soybean oil and others 29%. In 2018, the region imported 48% palm oil, 28% sunflower oil and 18% soybean oil.

In view of the market size and the region’s dependence on imports as their main source of oils and fats supply, it provides a ready market for palm oil and therefor this paper will explore potential areas for palm oil, particularly Malaysian palm oil to further expand and sustain in the market.


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Questions & Answers (2) :
George Teh
5 months ago
"Dear Ms Fatimah Zaharah, you attributed Malaysian export's near dominant position in Turkey to the FTA between the two countries since 2015. On the other hand, you cited "price factors and supply" for Malaysian export's lacklustre performance/position in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Can you please elaborate on the sustainability of reliance on FTA preferential trade arrangement, and detail the specific "price factors and supply" parameters which need to be managed/overcome? Thank you."
Fatimah Zaharah MdNan:
1. The competitiveness of Malaysian palm oil into Turkey market is strongly attributed by the FTA arrangement which provides Malaysian palm oil with greater accessibility into turkey market. In 2019, palm oil accounted for 44% of the total oils and fats imported into the country and Malaysian palm oil accounted for the most of it. The FTA signed in 2015 provides MPO the competitive advantage against its competitors and therefore it is timely that Malaysian suppliers to explore JV options and have a tie up with the local companies to strengthen MPO position in the market. The establishment could facilitate future demand from neighbouring countries such as Syria and Iraq. 2. Saudi Arabia and Egypt was once dominated by Malaysian palm oil. However, increase Indonesian palm oil supply, more competitive price and favourable payment term offered by Indonesian suppliers has swayed the demand towards Indonesian palm oil. However we have seen some demand coming back from Saudi Arabia in January 2020. Perhaps India inclination towards Indonesian palm oil after their Government restricted imports of MPO provides MPO better opportunity in other market previously dominated by Indonesia i.e Saudi Arabia.
5 months ago
MEGAT SYAZWAN SHAH
5 months ago
Do we also export Malaysian Palm Oil to Israel? If yes, how much is the market share?
Fatimah Zaharah MdNan:
As far as MPOB export statistics is concern, there is no export of MPO to Israel.
5 months ago
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