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Section 1 : Palm Oil Price Fundamentals:
Upcoming La Nina and CPO Price
Mr. Ling Ah Hong

Mr. Ling graduated from the University of Malaya with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honors).

He has more than 40 years of experience in research and management of plantation crops and companies. He was a former Executive Director of IJM Plantations and his other past positions include: Research Officer with FELDA, Senior Agronomist in Dunlop Estates (now part of IOI Corporation), Plantation Controller of Perlis Plantations (now part of Wilmar International), Chief Operating Officer for Hap Seng Plantations. Mr. Ling has authored and co-authored numerous publications on oil palm and cocoa in Malaysia. He is also a frequent speaker at international conferences and seminars organized by Bursa Malaysia, GAPKI, MPOC, MPOB and investment banks.

He is currently the Director and Principal Consultant of Ganling Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian-based company focusing on plantation research, consulting and investments.

GANLING specializes in weather-based palm oil forecasting, benchmarking and productivity improvement programs and performance analysis of plantation companies. Ganling is a consultant to a number of listed oil palm companies and banks in Malaysia and South East Asia and also an associate to LMC International, London, in the publication of: Oil Palm Quarterly Report – Indonesia and Malaysia.

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Weather is one of the key drivers in the production and supply of almost of all oilseeds and palm oil and a major catalyst for price movement. This paper examines the possible emergence of La Nina weather conditions after a strong 2015-16 El Nino event and the likely effects of La Nina on palm oil supplies and price trends.

In May 2016, the main El Nino monitoring agencies - the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially declared the end of the 2015 El Nino conditions in the central equatorial Pacific region.

The 2015-16 El Nino is one of the strongest events recorded in history since 1900 and has disrupted the normal rainfall patterns in South East Asia and caused widespread and severe droughts in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand (key palm oil producing countries which account for some 88% of the global palm oil supply). The historic droughts had stunted palm tree growth and started to crimp production in 2016.

Most climate models indicate that the El Nino has now entered the ENSO neutral conditions and there is a 50-75% chance that La Nina weather conditions will develop by Q3 2016.

The likely effects of this upcoming La Nina on rainfall patterns, palm oil yield and supply were analyzed (using the Ganling weather-based forecasting model).

How will the upcoming La Nina event affect palm oil and oilseed production in 2016 and 2017? What is the likely impact of the La Nina on palm and vegetable oil prices? Will this La Nina provide further catalyst for upward price movement in the vegetable oil complex?
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