Commodity shortages in various parts of the world could have a role to play in the dry bulk market moving forward. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “essentially, anyone involved in the shipping and commodity markets still struggle with commodity supply issues and skyrocketing prices in the context of a strained global supply chain. This year, labor constraints, supply disruptions as well as high fertilizers costs led to a tight supply of edible oils, with palm oil particularly seeing its price pushed to record high levels two weeks ago, before softening during the current one amid negative cues from the emergence of the new COVID variant spurring volatility across commodities”.
According to Intermodal’s Tanker Broker, Mr. Stelios Kollintzas, “a great shortage of plantation workers who have been unable to re-enter the country due to pandemic related issues in Malaysia has lowered palm oil production estimates for 2021 to 18.3 million tons, down from 19.2 million tons in 2020, while although Indonesia’s palm oil output has been relatively flat y-o-y, its exports are expected to halve this year according to the Indonesia Palm Oil Association, due to heavy export levies”.
While the Malaysian government, plans a special approval to bring about 30,000 workers back vs a shortage of 70,000 estimated at the beginning of the year by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, efforts to bring them back will take a while before they reach plantations and start harvesting. A plan which might now be prolonged in the hearing and speculation around omicron variant, the last prompting buyers to begin stockpiling palm oil again”, Kollintzas added.
“Palm oil futures in Busra Malaysia have reached back-to-back record highs during the past year, setting the highest on November 18 at MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) 5,446/mt or $1,292.88 ( DEC 21). Industry analysts expect that from March 2022 onwards, production issues in edible oils will ease and post a steep rise after 2 years of supply disruptions. Naturally, a correction on prices is anticipated, however, it is also believed that we have entered a new era of higher price levels that are here to stay. As far as the freight market is concerned rates for regional voyages to India and China have been moving sideways during the past weeks. On the other hand, FOSFA tonnage, especially on the westbound MR size TC Trip runs enjoyed a good premium, before correcting during mid Nov when the CPP Markets in the FEAST stagnated”, Intermodal’s analyst concluded.