EghtesadOnline: Malaysia exported RM748.1 million ($174.1 million) worth of palm oil to Iran during the five months of 2017, up 141.5% compared with last year’s corresponding period, Malaysian English-language newspaper The New Straits Times quoted Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong as saying.
“Prices and volume of palm oil products shipped over to Iran are higher this year,” he said.
Five months ago, the minister had led a three-day Malaysian economic and technical mission on palm oil, timber and rubber products to Iran.
Latest data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board show that in the first half of this year, Iran bought 282,238 tons. The figure stood at 132,490 tons in 2016 H1, according to Financial Tribune.
Last year, Iran bought 453,172 tons of palm oil and palm oil products valued at $331 million.
In 2014, Iran imposed import quota on palm oil imports, based on which total palm oil import did not exceed 30% of its total oils and fats import. As a result, Iran’s palm oil purchases dropped by 47% from 997,000 tons in 2013 to 330,970 tons in 2015.
In March 2016, the import quota was removed but replaced with a higher import tax of 40%. Other vegetable oils are taxed at 24%, according to the newspaper.
According to a new report by US-based market research and consulting company Grand View Research, Inc., Iran’s palm oil market is expected to top $600 million by 2025.
Its increasing usage in cosmetics and biodiesel industries has contributed to a significant portion of market revenue in recent years.
Lower palm product prices, compared to other vegetable products such as soybean, sunflower and groundnut, have also led to higher substitution in the food, beverage, cosmetics and biodiesel industries.