Palm-oil prices surging as trade politics bites
Fluctuation is shaped by shifts in commodity markets and Indonesia’s new biofuel plan
If you see a flowering of “palm-oil-free” labels on supermarket shelves in 2020, then thank Indonesian drivers, President Donald Trump’s trade negotiators and sickly pigs in China.
Palm oil — the red, semi-solid fat used in everything from noodles and soap to pastry and lipstick — has rarely been less attractive to consumer-product manufacturers. That isn’t so much a result of environmental campaigning against a product blamed for deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia; it’s more a reflection of shifts in commodity markets driven by high-level trade politics...