Palm oil exports from Malaysia, the world’s second largest palm producer, plunged 41.7% during the first month of a partial lockdown to contain the coronavirus, its plantation industries and commodities minister said on Thursday.
Crude palm oil and refined palm oil exports fell 636,847 tonnes during the March 18-April 14 period to 890,331 tonnes from the year before, minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said in a statement.
Exports of palm oil products fell 34.8%, or 793,257 tonnes, to 1.49 million tonnes during the same period.
Malaysia imposed restrictions last month until mid-May that include shutting most businesses and restricting movements, although essential services including the palm industry were allowed to operate with reduced staffing.
Mohd Khairuddin said the ministry has identified new markets to strengthen exports, including Myanmar, Egypt, Djibouti, and Uzbekistan.
“The market estimate for the region is 2 million tonnes a year,” he said.
Malaysia reported 5,945 coronavirus infections on Wednesday, with 100 fatalities.