palm oil

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Sustainable Indonesian palm oil producer MP Evans is expecting “an excellent result” thanks to continuing high commodity prices combined with growing production and crop numbers.

The group said rising yields on its oil-palm estates helped crop figures rise 11% to 1.5 million tonnes and crude palm oil (CPO) production increase 9% to 341,700 tonnes in 2022.

During the year, MP Evans achieved an average mill-gate price for its CPO of $854 per tonne compared with $810 in the previous year, an increase of 5%. Prices for palm kernels averaged $611 per tonne (mill gate), 15% higher than the $533 in 2021.

However, pricing started to moderate in second half of the year, coming down from the very high levels seen in the first six months. The group said, moving into 2023, it recently achieved mill-gate prices of approximately $750 per tonne for CPO, which still remained strong compared to historic levels.

The group is close to completing its sixth palm-oil mill at its Musi Rawas project in South Sumatra. This mill will process the increasing amount of crop being harvested from that estate.

Executive chairman Peter Hadsley-Chaplin said: “The group has achieved another significant increase in crop processed which, in conjunction with the high price environment in the year, will form the basis for an excellent result.

“We anticipate further crop increases from the group’s first-class estates and, with the Musi Rawas mill soon to be commissioned, we look forward to another productive and successful year in 2023.”

Shares in the group leapt 4.2% to 854.5p as markets opened this morning.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said: “MP Evans has had another good year, with a healthy improvement in crops, helpful pricing and continued development of assets.”

Morning update

It’s a quite start to the week on the markets.

The FTSE 100 nudged closer to record highs this morning, opening 0.2% higher at 7,856.66pts.

Early risers included McBride, up 5.8% to 26.8p, THG, up 2.4% to 67.6p, and PayPoint, up 2% to 517p.

HelloFresh opened down 4.4% to €25.90, Ocado fell 1.2% to 759.2p and AG Barr is down 0.5% to 545.5p.

This week in the City

The Christmas trading updates keep coming this week.

Ocado Retail is the last of the listed grocers to report, with its Q4 update tomorrow, along with final quarter figures from embattled THG.

Wednesday will see WH Smith provide markets with an update ahead of the group’s AGM, while Procter & Gamble files quarterly results in the US.

Premier Foods, Bakkavor and Deliveroo all post trading updates on Thursday.

It’s also a busy week of macroeconomic data for the UK, with unemployment and wage growth figures due on the Tuesday and the latest inflation data out on Wednesday.

The latest GfK consumer confidence index is out on Friday morning, as is the ONS retail sales figures for December.