Palm edges higher; range-trading on Sino-US trade war jitters

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 3): Malaysian palm oil futures were range-bound on Friday, as weakness in related edible oils and US-China trade friction concerns dented sentiment, but edged higher by midday break.

The benchmark palm oil contract for October delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 0.1% at RM2,192 (US$537.52) a tonne at noon. The market gained 0.3% for the week so far.

Trading volume stood at 10,561 lots of 25 tonnes each at the midday break.

"The market is bearish on overnight weakness in rival oilseed and the current drop in China palm olein on escalating trade tensions between the United States and China," said a futures trader from Kuala Lumpur.

"A lack of positive market-moving news, however, is likely to cap palm's upside."

China said on Thursday it would retaliate if the United States acted on a threat to raise tariffs on the Asian nation's exports, fuelling fears in financial markets that the trade war between the world's two biggest economies would escalate.

US President Donald Trump had earlier instructed trade officials to look at increasing tariffs to 25% from 10% on US$200 billion in Chinese imports into the United States.

The Chicago December soybean oil contract ended 1.2% lower on Thursday, in line with the oilseed's losses over the US-China trade concerns, but was last seen 0.1% firmer.

Meanwhile, the September soybean oil contract on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange rose 0.1% and the Dalian September palm oil contract slid 0.3%.

Palm oil prices are influenced by the performance of other edible oils as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.

Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 0508 GMT

Contract          Month    Last  Change     Low    High 
MY PALM OIL       AUG8        0   +0.00       0 0 0
MY PALM OIL       SEP8     2169   -1.00    2158    2171     605
MY PALM OIL       OCT8     2192   +1.00    2179    2194    5665
CHINA PALM OLEIN  JAN9     4898  -16.00    4852    4918  194982
CHINA SOYOIL      JAN9     5830   +0.00    5772    5840  255332
CBOT SOY OIL      DEC8    28.64   +0.00   28.55    28.7    2578
INDIA PALM OIL    AUG8   589.70   +0.80  587.10   589.7      71
INDIA SOYOIL      AUG8    739.7   +1.05   736.6  739.85    1470
NYMEX CRUDE       SEP8    69.03   +0.07   68.82   69.17   24647

Palm oil prices in Malaysian ringgit per tonne
CBOT soy oil in US cents per pound
Dalian soy oil and RBD palm olein in Chinese yuan per tonne
India soy oil in Indian rupee per 10 kg
Crude in US dollars per barrel

(US$1 = RM4.0780)
(US$1 = 68.7050 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.8678 Chinese yuan)