An end to trade restrictions by the world’s largest producer of palm oil could reduce cooking-oil prices around the world
Indonesia’s action became one of the most significant examples of trade protectionism, pushing up food prices globally. Other similar actions followed, such as India’s ban on exports of wheat.
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Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Thursday that in the weeks since his decision to ban palm oil exports, domestic cooking-oil prices fell by around 10%, and local supply was more abundant. Still, prices have remained stubbornly higher than the government’s target of around $1 per liter, causing difficulties for many Indonesians.
The decision to restart trade took into account the country’s 17 million palm-oil industry workers, Mr. Widodo said. Palm-oil farmers staged a protest in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, earlier this week, calling for an end to the export ban. “Even though exports are open the government will continue to monitor closely to ensure supplies are available at affordable prices,” Mr. Widodo said.
Like many leaders around the globe, Mr. Widodo has struggled to find solutions to rising inflation. In an early May poll of around 1,200 Indonesians by survey group Indikator Politik Indonesia, three-quarters of the participants said cooking-oil prices were too expensive. Anes Trini, a Jakarta retiree, had been hopeful that the export ban would cause prices to drop sharply. “It’s frustrating if the price still hasn’t come down,” she said.
Credit: www.Businesshala.com /