China buys palm oil cargoes as domestic prices hit new high

Chinese buyers have booked 3-4 cargoes of palm oil from Southeast Asia this week as the edible oil price in China climbed to a new record high.

According to two market sources, China has secured at least three cargoes of palm oil from either Malaysia or Indonesia for May shipment this week.

But prices for these cargoes are currently unknown.

The purchases were made against the backdrop of rising edible oil prices in China with both cash prices and futures for palm oil, soybean oil and rapeseed oil all jumped to a new record.

The main Dalian-listed palm oil futures contract for May 2022 delivery touched a new high of 12,796 yuan/ton (2,025 USD/ton) this Thursday.

Soybean oil futures also hit a new contract high of 11,400 yuan/ton (1,804 USD/ton) earlier this week, along with rapeseed oil futures that are currently hovering near its contract high of 13,380 yuan/ton (2,117 USD/ton).

As of the end of last week, cash prices for soybean oil and rapeseed oil in China are both at their new highs of 13.13 yuan/kg (2,078 USD/ton) and 16.45 yuan/kg (2,603 USD/ton) respectively, according to government data.

China normally prefers importing oilseeds directly and process then domestically to import oils from aboard, as the country has a large oilseed crushing industry to feed. The industry generates economic output and create employment.

However, imports of soybean and rapeseed have been nearly stalled in the first quarter of 2022 as import margins stayed negative, leaving companies stranded.

Many crushers have been forced to halt their operations in February and March this year due to the lack of soybeans.