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Morning round-up, Tuesday March 24


* The spread of coronavirus is expected to extend the drop in palm oil demand through the first half of 2020, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.


The organisation told Reuters that lockdown measures have resulted in lower demand for the edible oil in key markets, like India, China and the European Union.


“Palm oil demand for food processing in China, and biodiesel in the EU, is slowing down due to the lockdown”, Director-General, Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir explained.



* Malaysia’s Sabah state, the country’s top palm producing region, said on Tuesday that it will temporarily be halting operations at palm oil plantations in Tawau, Lahad Datu, and Kinabatangan districts after seven workers tested positive for coronavirus.


According to a government notice, the plantations will be closed from March 25-31, while palm processing facilities in the affected regions will be shut from March 27-31.



* A Sanderson Farms worker on Monday tested positive for coronavirus at the company’s poultry processing plant in McComb, Mississippi.


Sanderson said in a statement that the worker and six other were sent home to isolate themselves and that the plant, which processes 1.3m birds a week, will remain operational.




* China’s Heilongjiang province announced that it will be raising subsidies for corn growers in the region this year to increase corn planting and output.


It added that soybean subsidies will be set at 200 yuan higher than for corn.


The province is China’s leading grain producer.



* According to data from China’s General Administration of Customs, corn imports for January and February 2020 jumped 64.7% from the same period last year to 930,000 tonnes.


Wheat imports for the two months were down 8.9% to 680,000 tonnes.


Pork was up 158.1% at 560,000 tonnes.


Sugar imports jumped 118.7% to 320,000 tonnes.



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