From 2019 to 2020, international sales of palm oil increased by 16.4%.
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.
The 2 biggest exporters, Indonesia and Malaysia, accounted for 83.6% of globally exported palm oil in 2020.
Asian countries attracted the highest dollar worth of sales from exported palm oil during 2020 with shipments valued at $27.8 billion or 85.6% of the global total. In second place were European exporters at 6% while 5% of worldwide palm oil shipments originated from Latin American countries excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Tinier percentages came from Africa (1.72%) and Oceanian countries (1.57) led by Papua New Guinea.
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 1511 for palm oil.
Palm Oil Exports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of palm oil during 2020.
- Indonesia: US$17.4 billion (53.5% of exported palm oil)
- Malaysia: $9.8 billion (30.1%)
- Netherlands: $1 billion (3.2%)
- Papua New Guinea: $481.2 million (1.5%)
- Guatemala: $465.7 million (1.4%)
- Colombia: $406.3 million (1.3%)
- Honduras: $338.9 million (1%)
- Germany: $279.6 million (0.9%)
- Thailand: $157.3 million (0.5%)
- Estonia: $150.5 million (0.5%)
- Costa Rica: $148.4 million (0.5%)
- Italy: $142 million (0.4%)
- Ecuador: $120.2 million (0.4%)
- Turkey: $119.7 million (0.4%)
- Kenya: $115.5 million (0.4%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 95.8% of global palm oil exports in 2020.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing palm oil exporters since 2019 were: Honduras (up 135.9%), Turkey (up 131.7%), Estonia (up 43.2%) and Kenya (up 37.9%).
The sole decliner was Ecuador thanks to its -5.2% drop year over year.
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for palm oil during 2020. 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$17.4 billion (net export surplus up 18.4% since 2019)
- Malaysia: $9.1 billion (up 17.3%)
- Papua New Guinea: $468.4 million (up 15.1%)
- Guatemala: $443.3 million (up 17.3%)
- Honduras: $324.2 million (up 159.1%)
- Colombia: $246.2 million (up 20.1%)
- Thailand: $155.3 million (up 6.9%)
- Ecuador: $116.2 million (up 2.1%)
- Costa Rica: $98.2 million (up 44.1%)
- Peru: $47.4 million (up 17.5%)
- Nepal: $45.1 million (up 298.7%)
- Solomon Islands: $25.1 million (up 6.9%)
- Cambodia: $23.5 million (up 11.6%)
- Gabon: $12.5 million (reversing a -$10.2 million deficit)
- Estonia: $7.8 million (down -51.3%)
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 2020. 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$5.1 billion (net export surplus down -5.4% since 2019)
- China: -$4.1 billion (up 0.4%)
- Pakistan: -$2.1 billion (up 20.2%)
- Spain: -$1.3 billion (up 20%)
- Italy: -$1.1 billion (up 20.6%)
- United States: -$993.2 million (up 7.1%)
- Bangladesh: -$895.3 million (up 20.6%)
- Netherlands: -$818.1 million (up 9.8%)
- Russia: -$783 million (up 19.2%)
- Egypt: -$727.2 million (up 11.3%)
- Kenya: -$714.1 million (up 63.3%)
- Myanmar: -$645.3 million (up 660.5%)
- Vietnam: -$640.1 million (up 31.7%)
- Japan: -$547 million (up 9.9%)
- Belgium: -$435.6 million (up 31.7%)
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 July 19, 2021
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on July 19, 2021
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 19, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 19, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 19, 2021
Wikipedia, Palm oil. Accessed on July 19, 2021