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  • Malaysian palm oil does not threaten orangutans

    Malaysian palm oil does not threaten orangutans

    HAVE you taken a look at the Jata Negara recently? One of its distinctive features is a pair of tigers supporting the shield, which symbolises strength and courage. How about Wira, our orangutan mascot of the 16th Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur in 1998? The Malayan tiger and Bornean orangutan are two of the 306 species of wild mammals found in Peninsular Malaysia and in our Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak respectively. Along with more than 742 species of birds, 567 species of reptiles, 242 species of amphibians, more than 449 species of freshwater fish and an estimated 150,000 invertebrate species, Malaysia is truly blessed with immensely diverse fauna. The flora of Malaysia is just as rich, with a conservative estimate of about 15,000 species of flowering plants and more than 1,100 species of ferns and fern allies.
    Balancing development with conservation As a relatively young nation, Malaysia has achieved tremendous socioeconomic development, which is imperative to cure the historical injustices of the past. This also means that land has been used for development, including for cultivation of palm oil, rubber and other commodities. The tide of development has impacted the natural habitats of our flora and fauna, including our tigers and orangutans. We are not in denial. It is a fact that we must accept and recognise, and proceed to plan and execute remedial action.
    image: http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2017/10/10/18/58/supp_ni_1110_mah1_nurilyanna_1.ashx?h=370&w=500&la=en Jata Negara (Coat of Arms of Malaysia)
    Roaring symbol: The Jata Negara features two tigers supporting the shield.
      Based on the last estimate by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Peninsular Malaysia in 2003, there are about 500 mature tigers left in the peninsula. French NGO Hutan estimated in 2011 that there are about 10,000 orangutans left in Sabah, with about 785 individuals roaming the Lower Kinabatangan area. Both species have been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered. Our strategic intent for conservation is clearly outlined in the 11th Malaysia Plan where conserving natural resources for present and future generations, as well as strengthening resilience against climate change and natural disasters, are focus areas. Our action to date has matched our intent. Malaysia is one of the 195 countries that signed and one of the 148 countries who ratified the Paris Agreement during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in 2015, committing to lowering up to 45% in GHG emissions intensity per unit of GDP by 2030. As of 2015, we have already recorded a 33% reduction. Further­more, Malaysia’s forest cover of 55.5% as validated by FAO, compares favourably to that of many developed and developing economies, despite our robust development. Malaysia is committed to conservation Appreciating the value of protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services, the Government of Malaysia has committed to several conservation initiatives. In Peninsular Malaysia, the Central Forest Spine (CFS) master plan launched in 2011 aims to increase the integrity of the backbone of its environmentally sensitive zone by conserving and rehabilitating 20 primary and 17 secondary ecological linkages between four major forest complexes, namely Banjaran Titiwangsa-Banjaran Bintang-Banjaran Naka­wan; Taman Negara-Banjar­anTimur; South East Pahang, Chini and Bera Wetlands; and EndauRompin Park-Kluang Wildlife Reserves. This covers an area of approximately 5.3 million hectares, which accounts for over 40% of the total terrestrial area and over 91% of forest areas in Peninsular Malaysia. image: http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2017/10/10/18/58/mainx_lazar_1110_malaysiapdf.ashx?h=668&w=600&la=en In addition, under the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan, three sites were also identified as priority areas for tiger conservation, namely the Belum-Temenggor Complex, Taman Negara and the Endau-Rompin Complex. The CFS, costing US$257mil (RM1bil), is expected to be completed over 15 years spanning the 10th, 11th and 12th Malaysia Plans and has attracted technical and financial support from international and domestic development partners and NGOs. Some early achievements include the gazettement of Primary Linkage 7 as the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor, spanning over 15,000ha, and Primary Linkage 2 as the Amanjaya Forest Reserve, covering over 20,000ha. Across the South China Sea, Heart of Borneo (HoB), a voluntary trans-boundary cooperation aimed at conserving and managing about 200,000sq km of ecologically inter-­connected rainforest straddling the borders of Brunei, Indon­esia and Malaysia, was committed to by the respective governments in 2008. The state governments of Sabah and Sarawak have identified about 3.9 million hectares and 2.1 million hectares respectively for HoB, or about 60,000sq km in total, which roughly translates to a land area 83 times the size of Singapore. Commodity industry must do more Through the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund was jointly launched with the Sabah Wildlife Department in 2006, with an initial funding of RM20mil from the Malaysian Government and the palm oil industry in equal parts. Funds are provided for execution of projects and studies on wildlife, biodiversity and environmental conservation while factoring in the overall impact of the palm oil industry on these parameters. The projects include the establishment of a Wildlife Rescue Unit in 2010, which has undertaken more than 100 rescue or translocation operations, and the Bornean Elephant Sanctuary in 2013, which undertakes elephant rescues, treatment and a holding area for wild displaced elephants. In 2012, three species action plans detailing conservation guidelines for the Bornean orangutan, Bornean elephant and Sumatran rhinoceros were also introduced. image: http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2017/10/10/18/58/p21_mainx_abv_forestmah_1110pdf.ashx?h=450&w=620&la=en Be that as it may, the public and private sector actors in the commodity industry, especially palm oil, rubber and timber, must accept that there is a lot more we need to do. Agencies from my ministry are already collaborating with agencies from the Ministry of Natural Resour­ces and Environment to make the CFS a success via the National Land Council and CFS implementation technical committees. Perhaps now is the time for us to strengthen this collaboration, for example by addressing land conversion in CFS linkages or, if commodity cultivation is already in place, finding ways to restore them. Human-wildlife conflict management must also be stepped up at plantations adjacent to the CFS through awareness-building, training and enforcement. While requiring further syndication, a recent report by the Inter­national Institute for Environment and Development suggests that it is critical to address the potential future loss of forests outside of protected areas and the recreation of contiguous forest corridors to arrest further decline in orangutans in Lower Kinabatangan. My ministry, along with the palm industry and Sabah authorities, will collaborate to find concrete resolutions to this difficult challenge. Failure to do so will bring about more intense pressure on the global acceptance of our commodity produce. This is evidenced by various “no palm oil” labelling efforts in the EU and Australia recently that are predicated on palm oil’s alleged destruction of forests and its adverse impact on the environment, which I maintain are grossly inaccurate. The steps we have taken to preserve our natural heritage while ensuring continued socioeconomic development must be given greater attention and this is my attempt to do so. Even more fundamentally, we have the sacred duty to ensure that the twin tigers that proudly adorned our Coat of Arms and the orangutans that still roam our Bornean jungles must not vanish from the face of our beloved Malaysia and with the support of all stakeholders, we will achieve this objective. Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong is Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities. Commodities Today and Beyond is his op-ed to share his views, hope and vision for commodities with everyday Malaysians. Source:  http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/commodities-today-and-beyond/2017/10/11/malaysian-palm-oil-does-not-threaten-orangutans/#s5135CBLE9Jviqtz.99  

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  • French hostility to palm oil trade hurting bilateral relations: MPOB

    French hostility to palm oil trade hurting bilateral relations: MPOB

    KUALA LUMPUR: France’s current adversarial position on the palm oil trade is hurting relations with Malaysia, Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah said today. "French attacks on (the palm oil industry) are uncalled for and misguided. France should be cherishing 60 years of diplomatic relations with Malaysia,” he said. Ahmad was responding to France Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot's recent announcement that his country will close a window which offered the possibility of using palm oil in biofuels. A couple of weeks ago, Hulot reportedly said France wants to stop "imported deforestation" and blamed unsustainable production of soybean and palm oil for impeding development in Latin America and Asia. Hulot's negative view of palm oil reflects that of Avril Group, Europe's largest biodiesel producer. Avril Group uses French rapeseed as its main feedstock for biodiesel. In the same news report, Avril chief executive Jean-Philippe Puig said his company supports all initiatives banning the usage of palm oil in biodiesel. "Why is France vehemently attacking palm oil and undermining the opportunity for many families here to earn a decent living?” Ahmad asked, when contacted by NST Business today. "Palm oil is a strategic commodity and the oil palm is a miracle crop," he said, adding that oil palm planting and palm oil exports provide developing nations, such as Malaysia, a path out of poverty. Ahmad rubbished allegations that oil palm planters cause rampant deforestation and provided evidence that Malaysian farmers have a good track record in efficient land use and conservation. Oil palm trees yield four tonnes of vegetable oil per hectare, or 10, seven and five times the yields of soyabean, sunflower and rapeseed, respectively. At the same time, oil palms occupy less than five per cent of the world’s land under oil crop cultivation. Ahmad adduced more studies from reputable science journals detailing that oil palm trees are actually the most environmentally-friendly among all oil crops such as rapeseed, soybean and sunflower. This is because on a per-litre basis, palm oil production requires less energy, land and fewer fertilisers or pesticide usage compared to other vegetable oils. Oil palms have an economic lifespan of 25 years, while its competitors like rapeseed, soya and sunflower need to be uprooted every four months during harvest, and that contributes to soil erosion. Malaysia has 55 per cent of its land under forest cover. The corresponding figure for France is just 37 per cent. Ahmad also highlighted that Malaysia earns between US$15 billion and US$20 billion from palm oil exports every year, which accounts for 8 per cent of Malaysia’s economy. Businesses related to palm oil employ more than two million people in Malaysia, including close to 650,000 small farmers whose plantations account for 40 per cent of land under cultivation. "The palm oil value chain is important in terms of employment, foreign exchange earnings and socio-economic interests of smallholders in bridging the rural and urban development gap," he said. Last year, the European Food Safety Authority raised potential health concerns over the consumption of palm oil over contaminants glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE) and 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD). Since that announcement, many food and beverage companies in Europe started boycotting palm oil. In a separate interview, MPOB director general Dr Kushairi Din testified that many foods contain 3-MCPD and GE, including processed meats such as sausages and sauces, gravies and almost all vegetable oils. “These substances, namely 3-MCPD and GE, are present in the everyday foods we eat. They are not confined to palm oil.” He noted with disappointment when news reports sensationally cast aspersions on palm oil without evidence, as it often leads to public confidence erosion. "As of now, there is no real evidence, based on human studies, that show that 3-MCPD and GE cause cancer. As professionals, we must look at the facts and figures of palm oil nutrition," he said. Blurring the truth with narratives not grounded in facts just triggers public doubt, Kushairi added. He urged responsible media practitioners to convey the facts and figures of sustainable practices by the palm oil industry. “We need to assert the truth about baseless claims by irresponsible people who put up technical trade barriers to negate Malaysia's exports and overall economy,” he added.   By OOI TEE CHING Source : https://www.nst.com.my/business/2017/07/257699/french-hostility-palm-oil-trade-hurting-bilateral-relations-mpob

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  • Global palm oil output likely to rise by 6 million tonnes

    Global palm oil output likely to rise by 6 million tonnes

    KUALA LUMPUR: Global palm oil output is expected to increase by six million tonnes in 2017 as oil palm trees were recovering from the adverse effects of the El Nino, says a leading industry analyst Thomas Mielke. He said the current good weather, particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s top two producers was also aiding output. In 2016, palm oil production was impacted by the El Nino, a warming of the Eastern Pacific Ocean waters which brings dry weather across Southeast Asia and lowers palm yields in top producers Indonesia and Malaysia. Indonesia’s palm oil output was expected to reach 35 million tonnes in 2017 year from 32.10 million tonnes recorded in 2016 while Malaysia’s output would increase to 19.85 million tonnes from 17.32 million tonnes previously. In October 2016, Mielke estimated that global palm oil output grew by 5.5 million tonnes. “Replenishment of vegetable oil stocks will take time and will not be possible in 2016/2017 as we need a better year of good weather and high production,” he said at the Palm and Lauric Oils Price Outlook Conference and Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. On palm oil prices, Mielke, who is also editor of the Hamburg-based Oil World newsletter said the price setback should be moderate as long as palm oil stocks remained small. He said price peaked to RM3,300 per tonne in the first quarter of this year, but would stay below soybean oil prices in coming weeks and for the rest of the year. “Some recovery is likely to be seen in the next three to six weeks because of the prospects of strong demand, globally. With more purchases from consumers, prices would rise sizably,” he said. Meanwhile, Mielke was of the opinion that global vegetable oil imports had increased to meet current demand. For 2017, he forecast that yield would recover but remain below average level. - Bernama
    Source : http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/03/08/global-palm-oil-output-likely-to-rise-by-6-million-tonnes/#rUSRjHq45505MbB9.99

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  • Let’s light up palm oil history

    Let’s light up palm oil history

    The industry’s centenary this year is a learning opportunity not to be wasted THE Malaysian palm oil industry turns 100 this year. Pinpointing the start of an industry this old is often tricky, but in this case, the birth is widely recognised as the first time that oil palm was planted commercially in this country. That was in 1917. The birthplace was Tennamaram Estate in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor, and the man responsible was a planter from France named Henri Fauconnier, who later became an award-winning writer. Sime Darby Bhd now owns the plantation. Batang Berjuntai, from a Malay term that’s usually translated as dangling branch or stick, has been given a less suggestive name – Bestari Jaya.
    And of course, palm oil has become a cornerstone of the Malaysian economy, a significant factor in the capital market, and one of the country’s sociopolitical levers. It’s certainly a birthday worth celebrating.
    Yes, it’s nice and appropriate to organise some merrymaking to commemorate the centennial, but what’s more likely to have a lasting impact is solid and searching storytelling on how the industry has grown to be what it is today. This can be in many forms (books, articles, TV segments and shows, documentaries, short videos, talks, panel discussions, exhibitions, websites) as long as it helps people understand what it took for oil palm to progress from decorative plant to Malaysia’s golden crop. On one level, the industry’s story is not very different from those of other industries. Palm oil has become big as a result of hard work, innovation, foresight, sound strategies, entrepreneurship, government support and, sure, luck. But when we look closer, we’ll see that Malaysia’s experience with palm oil is a treasure trove of unique lessons. For example, before oil palm took over as the country’s dominant cash crop, there was rubber. The pivot from rubber to oil palm is a fascinating tale of threat transformed into opportunity, of adaptability paving the way for prosperity. The transition to oil palm was also boosted by the drive to lift the fortunes of the rural poor through the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda). With more and more settlers on the Felda schemes cultivating oil palm, it surpassed rubber in 1989 as Malaysia’s main economic crop. By itself, Felda’s 60-year history is already a powerful saga of government intervention and human endeavour. The longevity of some of our plantation players gives us another rich source of wisdom, anecdotes and records relating to the palm oil industry. And there are many other palm oil-related institutions in the private and public sectors that have been around for decades. What they’ve done and gone through, can go a long way in preparing us for the years ahead. It’s a shame if there’s no attempt to highlight and explain key industry developments and their consequences. It’s equally important to showcase the contributions of pioneers and leaders in palm oil. A 100-year journey surely has its share of wrong turns and casualties, and these should not be swept under the carpet. Sometimes we learn more from failure than from success. No matter how old, no industry is free of challenges. The global sustainability agenda demands that palm oil growers convince people that the business does little harm to communities and the environment. The industry’s productivity levels have been stagnant for a long time; a breakthrough is much needed. This is yet another reason for a long, retrospective look at the last 100 years of palm oil. The answers to a brighter future may well lie in the past. To search, we must first illuminate history. Executive editor Errol Oh has a soft spot for the palm oil industry. His late father had worked only in plantations. Souce: http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/02/11/lets-light-up-palm-oil-history/#KLJDFjpgbZJz0joL.99

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  • Cabinet agrees to postpone levy payment on foreign workers to 2018

    Cabinet agrees to postpone levy payment on foreign workers to 2018

    PUTRAJAYA, Jan 11 — The Cabinet has agreed to postpone to next year, the implementation of levy payment on foreign workers by employers, which will be enforced under the Employer Mandatory Commitment (EMC). Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Cabinet today, had also agreed to look into a proper ecosystem, aimed at providing convenience to industries in hiring foreign workers, and to ensure the country’s economic growth. Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Cabinet had agreed to postpone until 2018 the implementation of levy payment on foreign workers by employers under the Employer Mandatory Commitment (EMC). — File picDatuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Cabinet had agreed to postpone until 2018 the implementation of levy payment on foreign workers by employers under the Employer Mandatory Commitment (EMC). He said the decision was made after a presentation by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low who gave the overall picture pertaining to the EMC. “It is not just on levy, but on the rights of the employer to have direct access towards the workers, rather than going through a middle man, how to cut down bureaucracy procedures and how to have fast employment of foreign workers. “At the meeting, we also voiced out the need to regulate employment of foreign workers and ensure it can support our economic growth, without giving problem to our social issues,” he told reporters here today. On Dec 31, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also home minister, had announced employers would be responsible for paying the levy of their foreign workers which would be enforced under the EMC. Under the scheme, the employers would be disallowed from deducting the levy from the wages of their workers. Yesterday, construction industry players wanted the EMC to be scrapped as it did not benefit the country. Liow said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed to look into these matter personally and would coordinate with the home ministry and human resources ministry to “take care of whatever hiccups” to resolve the issue. “The Cabinet is clear that our foreign worker policy must be vibrant and able to solve the present shortage of foreign workers in the country,” he said, adding the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers would meet soon. — Bernama Source: themalaymailonline.com, 12 January 2017

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  • Nutella maker defends palm oil

    Nutella maker defends palm oil

    Ferrero runs TV commercial to allay fear over cancer risk ALBA: The US$44bil palm oil industry, under pressure in Europe after authorities listed the edible oil as a cancer risk, has found a vocal ally in the food sector: the maker of Nutella. Italian confectionery firm Ferrero has taken a public stand in defence of an ingredient that some other food companies in the country are boycotting. It has launched an advertising campaign to assure the public about the safety of Nutella, its flagship product which makes up about a fifth of its sales. The hazelnut and chocolate spread, one of Italy’s best-known food brands and a popular breakfast treat for children, relies on palm oil for its smooth texture and shelf life. Other substitutes, such as sunflower oil, would change its character, according to Ferrero.
    “Making Nutella without palm oil would produce an inferior substitute for the real product, it would be a step backward,” Ferrero’s purchasing manager Vincenzo Tapella told Reuters. He features in a TV commercial aired in Italy over the past three months that has drawn criticism from some politicians. Any move away from palm oil would also have economic implications as it is the cheapest vegetable oil, costing around US$800 a tonne, compared with US$845 for sunflower oil and US$920 for rapeseed oil, another possible substitute.
    Enriched by palm oil: Nutella chocolate-hazelnut paste relies on palm oil for its smooth texture and shelf life. – Reuters
    Enriched by palm oil: Nutella chocolate-hazelnut paste relies on palm oil for its smooth texture and shelf life. – Reuters
    Ferrero uses about 185,000 tonnes of palm oil a year, so replacing it with those substitutes could cost the firm an extra US$8mil-US$22mil annually, at those prices. The company declined to comment on these calculations. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in May that palm oil generated more of a potentially carcinogenic contaminant than other vegetable oils when refined at temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius. It did not, however, recommend consumers stop eating it and said further study was needed to assess the level of risk. The detailed research into the contaminant – known as GE – was commissioned by the European Commission in 2014 after an EFSA study the year before, into substances generated during industrial refining, identified it as being potentially harmful. EFSA does not have the power to make regulations, though the issue is under review by the European Commission. The spokesman for Health and Food Safety, Enrico Brivio, said guidance would be issued by the end of this year. Measures could include regulations to limit the level of GE in food products, but there would not be a ban on the use of palm oil, he added. The World Health Organisation and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation flagged the same potential risk that EFSA had warned of regarding GE, but did not recommend consumers stop eating palm oil. The US Food and Drug Administration also has not banned the use of palm oil in food. The issue became a hot consumer topic in Italy after the largest supermarket chain, Coop, boycotted palm oil in all its own-brand products following the EFSA study, describing the move as a “precaution”. Italy’s biggest baker, Barilla, also eliminated it and put “palm oil-free” labels on its wares. The retailers’ decisions followed pressure from activists, including Italy’s main farming association Coldiretti and online food magazine Il Fatto Alimentare, which called on all food firms to stop using palm oil. High temperatures are used to remove palm oil’s natural red colour and neutralise its smell, but Ferrero says it uses an industrial process that combines a temperature of just below 200ºC and extremely low pressure to minimise contaminants. The process takes longer and costs 20% more than high-temperature refining, Ferrero told Reuters. But it said this had allowed it to bring GE levels so low that scientific instruments find it hard to trace the chemical. “The palm oil used by Ferrero is safe because it comes from freshly squeezed fruits and is processed at controlled temperatures,” Tapella says in the TV ad, which was filmed at the firm’s factory in the northern town of Alba and was accompanied by full-page ads in newspapers carrying the same message. EFSA declined to comment on the possible risks of refining palm oil at lower temperatures. Ferrero is by no means the only big European food firm to keep using palm oil in its products since the EFSA report. The likes of Unilever and Nestle use it in products including chocolate, snacks and margarine. The two companies said they were monitoring the contaminant issue and were working with their suppliers to keep GE at lowest possible levels. Ferrero is the only big European food company to mount such a public defence of the use of the ingredient in its products following the EFSA opinion. The company told Reuters it carried out “hundreds of thousands of tests” on contaminants in both the palm oil it uses and finished products.The palm oil industry, dominated by producers in Malaysia and Indonesia, believes Ferrero is playing an important role in addressing what it regards as misconceptions among consumers. “It is good that Ferrero has clarified that the palm oil they use is safe and sustainable,” said Tan Sri Yusof Basiron, chief executive of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council. He said Malaysian producers had not suffered any impact on their European exports after the EFSA opinion. The Indonesian Palm Oil Association also said there had been no impact. – Reuters Source : The Star, 12 January 2017

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  • Oil palm planters to benefit from strong dollar, limited supply

    Oil palm planters to benefit from strong dollar, limited supply

    KUALA LUMPUR: OIL palm planters can look forward to encouraging palm oil pricing on the back of a strong US dollar and limited supply of the oil as palm trees are still recovering from the El Nino weather phenomenon. In the past two years, oil palm trees have been bearing less fruit. This year, palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia, which account for 85 per cent of the global supply, is forecast to fall by five per cent to 58.8 million tonnes. In an interview with Business Times, Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) chairman Datuk Franki Anthony Dass said next year’s oil palm fruit production should recover from the El Nino but the rise in quantum is difficult to forecast. “There are still the lagging secondary El Nino effects,” he said. For the past month, palm oil futures on Bursa Malaysia averaged above RM2,900 per tonne. “If we look at the movements in palm oil futures, they have a direct relation with the strength of the US dollar. The strengthening of the US dollar is having a favourable impact on palm oil prices.” Ongoing biodiesel mandates in Indonesia and Malaysia are also fuelling support for palm oil pricing. This value-adding mechanism has helped bring down national palm oil stocks. On Bursa Malaysia, plantation stocks are showing an improved performance.  In a note to investors, Public Investment Bank Bhd said many plantation companies are showing better results in the quarter of July to September. The research house said IOI Corp Bhd, Ta Ann Bhd and TSH Resources Bhd’s financial results are within its expectations while Genting Plantations Bhd posted better-than-expected results, bolstered by a huge jump in upstream plantation business.  TDM Bhd achieved the highest average palm oil price for the quarter at RM2,631 per tonne, followed by Genting Plantations at RM2,617 per tonne while Ta Ann’s RM2,412 per tonne was the lowest.  The plantation sector saw lower fruit production as a result of the lagged effect from the super El Nino.  Only Genting Plantations and Ta Ann harvested more oil palm fruits while Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), IOI Corp, Sime Darby Bhd, TDM and TSH posted quarter-on-quarter decline in production, albeit at a smaller pace.  TDM suffered the sharpest production drop in oil palm fruits, down 26.7 per cent, followed by Sime Darby (-23.6 per cent). FGV had also seen 14.4 per cent decline in its oil palm fruit production in its latest quarterly results. The research house upgraded Sime Darby from “neutral” to “outperform” as it sees the likelihood of unlocking potential value via a demerger exercise given the current bullish sentiment for palm oil prices.  “We maintain our call on TDM as we believe it will be able to catch up in the fourth quarter given the stronger palm oil prices.” It is keeping its “outperform” call on Genting Plantations, with a higher target price of RM12.51.  “We expect to see another round of impressive earnings in the final quarter. Palm oil futures is likely to stay above RM3,000 per tonne due to tight inventories. We retain our ‘overweight’ stance on the plantation sector. “On the other hand, we revised our target price for FGV from RM2 to RM1.77 as the company will face another loss-making quarter due to its kitchen-sinking exercise,” it added. Source : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/12/194493/oil-palm-planters-benefit-strong-dollar-limited-supply

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