Used in food, cosmetics and as bio-fuel, worldwide demand for palm oil is robust. Indonesia remains as the market leader for exported palm oil.
Global sales from palm oil exports by country totaled an estimated US$23.2 billion in 2019. Overall, the value of palm oil exports fell by an average -20.8% for all exporting countries since 2015 when palm oil shipments were valued at $29.3 billion. Year over year, international palm oil sales decreased by -24.7% from 2018 to 2019.
Led by Indonesia, Asian countries generated the highest dollar worth of exported palm oil during 2019 with shipments valued at $19.3 billion or 83.2% of the global total. In second place were European exporters at 7.6% while 5.9% of worldwide palm oil shipments originated from Latin American countries excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Smaller percentages came from Oceanian countries (1.9%) headed by Papua New Guinea, then exporters in Africa (1%) and North America (0.4%).
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for palm oil is 1511.
Palm Oil Exports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of palm oil during 2019.
- Indonesia: US$10.4 billion (44.8% of total palm oil exports)
- Malaysia: $8.3 billion (36%)
- Netherlands: $1 billion (4.4%)
- Papua New Guinea: $423.7 million (1.8%)
- Colombia: $402.8 million (1.7%)
- Guatemala: $393.8 million (1.7%)
- Germany: $265.2 million (1.1%)
- Honduras: $256.8 million (1.1%)
- Nepal: $189.1 million (0.8%)
- Thailand: $147.8 million (0.6%)
- Italy: $131 million (0.6%)
- Ecuador: $126.8 million (0.5%)
- Denmark: $112 million (0.5%)
- Costa Rica: $110.9 million (0.5%)
- United States: $87.2 million (0.4%)
The listed 15 countries shipped 96.6% of global palm oil exports in 2019 by value.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing palm oil exporters since 2015 were: Thailand (up 202.5%), Italy (up 134.8%), Colombia (up 48.8%) and Denmark (up 42.5%).
Five top suppliers posted declines in their exported palm oil sales namely Ecuador (down -43.7%), Indonesia (down -32.6%), Germany (down -27.8%), Malaysia (down -12.6%) and Papua New Guinea (down -1.5%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for palm oil during 2019. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported palm oil and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- Indonesia: US$10.4 billion (net export surplus down -32.6% since 2015)
- Malaysia: $7.8 billion (down -11.9%)
- Papua New Guinea: $416.7 million (up 3.6%)
- Guatemala: $378.1 million (up 43.1%)
- Colombia: $253.6 million (up 41%)
- Honduras: $242.1 million (up 20.6%)
- Nepal: $185.6 million (reversing a -$31.9 million deficit)
- Thailand: $145.2 million (reversing a -$205,000 deficit)
- Ecuador: $113.9 million (down -47.6%)
- Costa Rica: $68.2 million (down -34.6%)
- Peru: $40.4 million (up 158.9%)
- Oman: $40.2 million (reversing a -$30.3 million deficit)
- Ivory Coast: $29.5 million (down -65.5%)
- Solomon Islands: $25.2 million (up 22.7%)
- Panama: $13.6 million (reversing a -$1.5 million deficit)
Indonesia has the highest surplus in the international trade of palm oil. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Indonesia’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for palm oil during 2019. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported palm oil purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- India: -US$5.4 billion (net export deficit down -9.5% since 2015)
- China: -$4.1 billion (up 10.3%)
- Spain: -$1.1 billion (up 35.2%)
- United States: -$927.1 million (up 17.8%)
- Italy: -$926.4 million (down -18.6%)
- Netherlands: -$666.4 million (down -5.2%)
- Russia: -$657 million (up 9%)
- Japan: -$497.9 million (up 12.6%)
- Pakistan: -$458.5 million (down -72.2%)
- Turkey: -$371.9 million (down -10.9%)
- South Korea: -$348.6 million (up 24.4%)
- Belgium: -$317.5 million (down -3.6%)
- Saudi Arabia: -$317.4 million (down -3.1%)
- Vietnam: -$282.2 million (down -31.1%)
- Iran: -$278 million (up 24.7%)
India incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of palm oil. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights India’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for palm oil-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.
Palm Oil Exporting Companies
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following companies are top-rated examples of palm oil-trading companies located in the country shown within parentheses:
- Erapoly Global Sdn. BHD (Malaysia)
- Foshan Shunde Guoxin Ind. Co., Limited (China)
- MUZ Trading (Philippines)
- Novagen Genetica LtdA-EPP (Brazil)
- Passata Trading GmbH (Germany)
- Pt. Asianagro Agungjaya (Indonesia)
See also Palm Oil Imports by Country, Top Asian Export Countries and Indonesia’s Top 10 Exports
Alibaba, Supplier information for palm oil. Accessed on May 2, 2020
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on May 2, 2020
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 2, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 2, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Palm oil. Accessed on May 2, 2020