By Rajendra Jadhav
AGRA, India, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Indonesia's palm oil exports are set to jump in the second half of the year after the scrapping of export levies, but the 2022 total will still be lower than last year's 33.7 million tonnes due to earlier restrictions, an industry official told Reuters.
Lower shipments could lift stocks at the world's biggest palm oil producer to around 5 million tonnes by the end of the year from 4.1 million tonnes a year earlier, Fadhil Hasan, head of the trade and promotion division at the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) said on the sidelines of the Globoil conference in Agra, India.
"Exports would be higher in the second half, but it cannot compensate the first half's drop in exports," Hasan said.
Indonesia imposed curbs on palm oil exports in the first half of 2022 to calm record prices and bring relief to consumers. But the curbs lifted stocks with producers to record levels and some producers were forced to stop buying fresh fruit bunches from farmers.
Indonesian producers are now moving to lighten their stocks after Jakarta recently extended its export levy waiver to Oct. 31, in a change of course from the export ban in May that shut them out of global trade.
The government should waive the levy on palm oil exports until December 2022 to bring down stocks further, Hasan said.
Indonesia could produce 45 million tonnes of crude palm oil in 2022, down from the last year's 46.9 million tonnes, he said. Indonesia was earlier expected to produce 48 million tonnes.
"Area expansion is limited and productivity is going down. We are replanting. The trend in production is down. In 2023 production could be lower than 2022," Hasan said.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav Editing by Mark Potter)
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