Indonesia, which accounts for about half of the world’s supply of palm oil, the world’s most widely used vegetable oil, announced that it will ban exports of the commodity starting on Thursday, sending prices of competing vegetable oils soaring. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the move was designed to bring down domestic palm-oil prices and ensure domestic food availability in the wake of global food inflation. Indonesia’s finance minister told Reuters on Friday the palm oil ban would hurt other countries, but that it was necessary to contain the soaring domestic prices of cooking oil which has led to protests.
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