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KUALA LUMPUR: Crude palm oil (CPO) prices are expected to remain elevated
in the second half of this year (H2 2022) on supply concerns and improved demand outlook, according to MIDF Research.
The research house said prices would be supported by the higher edible oil prices on supply concerns amid the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war, which disrupts the sunflower oil supply.
Also propping up prices would be the subdued production outlook for soybean in 2022/23 due the return of La Nina for the third year in a row in South America, compounded by lower planted area in the United States, as well as better demand outlook on improved economic activities, it said in a note.
"Despite our positive view on the sector, we do expect the CPO price to ease in H2 2022 but at a gradual pace on concern of inflationary pressure globally after achieving higher-than-expected CPO prices in the first half of the year. As such, we maintain our 2022 CPO price forecast of RM5,500 per tonne at this juncture,” it said.
In line with this, MIDF Research reaffirmed its "positive” stance on the plantation sector.,
Key risks to CPO prices include the emergence of new COVID-19 variants resulting in another round of lockdowns worldwide, above-expectation stockpiles and supply of soybean and soybean oil, as well as changing policies in importing countries, it said.
Meanwhile, Kenanga Research has an "overweight” rating on the plantation sector, saying another good set of plantation earnings can be expected moving forward for the coming April-June 2022 results seasons.
"Thereafter, easier earnings are likely but (they will) still remain robust on expected CPO price of RM4,500 per tonne for 2022 and RM4,000 per tonne for 2023. With production cost of between RM2,000 and 2,500 per tonne, margins for the sector are still attractive,” it said in a note.
According to the research firm, the appeal of the plantation sector is no longer about earnings recovery but increasingly about earning resilience, especially when inflationary and weakening economic concerns are
clouding the market.
"Firstly, plantation earnings look set to stay healthy on resilient demand for palm oil. The sector’s defensive asset-rich net tangible asset is another attraction and valuations are not excessive either, especially after the recent market sell-down.
"However, with CPO prices likely to remain elevated into 2023, robust margins can be expected despite rising costs. We upgraded the sector from 'neutral’ to ‘outperform’ about a month ago, a view we are maintaining (currently),” it added. - Bernama