Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo has directed Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi and ministry officials to maintain domestic cooking oil price stability following the recent commodity price hike.

"Since the crude palm oil price in the export market is currently high, I instruct the trade minister to ensure domestic cooking oil price stability," the President said in a recorded remark, uploaded on the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel on Monday.

As the government must prioritize people's livelihood, the ministry must conceive several measures to ensure cooking oil prices remain affordable, he added.

The President also advised the minister to conduct market interventions, if necessary, to maintain price affordability.

"I need to remind you that the government has obliged private companies, state-owned enterprises, and subsidiary companies in the mining, agriculture, and natural resources industries to prioritize domestic demand before exporting their products," Widodo remarked.

He highlighted that the directive is consistent with Article 33 of the 1945 Constitution that promulgates that the natural resources of the nation controlled by the state be harnessed for the benefit of the people.

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As per the latest cooking oil price data recorded by the national Strategic Food Price Information Centre, the price of two branded cooking oil products currently stand at Rp20,200 (US$1.41) and Rp20,400 (US$1.42) per liter, and bulk cooking oil is selling for Rp18,500 (US$1.29) per liter.

The recent cooking oil price increase in the country can be attributed to the high global crude palm oil price, which is currently pegged at US$1,305 per liter, a 27.17-percent hike compared to early 2021, Widodo said.

A decrease in palm oil supply from major supplying countries, such as Malaysia, amidst an uptick in global crude palm oil demand, particularly increasing demand from the bio-diesel industry, has caused the price hike, he explained.

Logistics disruptions due to shortage of available export containers and shipping vessels amid the COVID-19 pandemic have also played a role in the recent crude palm oil price increase, he added.

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Translator: Desca Lidya N, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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