Palm oil blue chip Wilmar International has taken the market by storm, reaching a five-year high of $5.56 on Jan 25 before closing at $5.53. But for investors seeking an alternative exposure to the agri-commodities sector, First Resources may prove to be a viable option, flagged by some analysts as an excellent buy going into the Year of the Ox. 

“Given Wilmar’s strong share price performance, we switch it out of our portfolio and add First Resources, given that it is a direct beneficiary of higher crude palm oil (CPO) prices,” report UOB Kay Hian analysts Leow Huey Chuen and Jacquelyn Yow, who have named First Resources as one of UOB’s high-conviction top alpha picks for 2021. The analysts are also raising their CPO price forecast by 15% to RM3,000/ tonne ($983.36/tonne) for 2021. 

Much of this bullishness stems from the counter’s relative resilience after the Indonesian government revised its export levy structure on palm oil exports effective Dec 10 last year. The goal is to beef up Indonesia’s fast-depleting biodiesel fund. RHB analysts Hoe Lee Leng, Christopher Andre Benas and Juliana Cai believe that Jakarta can now support B30 output fully for 2021 — an upside for CPO prices. 

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