Palm hits over 2-month high on weak production outlook

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 9): Malaysian palm oil futures rose to an over two-month high on Wednesday evening, charting a second straight day of gains, as traders forecast declining production in the coming months and improving export data.  

The benchmark palm oil contract for March delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose as much as 1.1% to RM2,202 (US$535.38) in the second half of trade, its highest level since Oct 24, before easing some gains.

It ended the trading day up 0.2% to RM2,183 a tonne.

Trading volumes stood at 36,824 lots of 25 tonnes each at the close of trade.

Palm prices were up on a seasonal basis, a Singapore-based trader said. "During January-March, production always goes down and prices go up," he said.

Expectations of monthly export gains were also supportive of the market, as demand in December was "quite low", said another trader.  

Palm oil shipments from Malaysia, the world's second largest producer and exporter, edged up from the previous month to between 1.2 million tonnes (MT) and 1.3 MT in December, according to cargo surveyor data.

Cargo surveyors are expected to release export data for the Jan 1-10 period on Thursday after 0300 GMT.

Exports are also expected to rise following India's decision to reduce import taxes on Southeast Asian palm oil.

India, the world's largest edible oil importer, had previously raised import duties on edible oils last year to support local prices.

In other related oils, the Chicago March soybean oil contract rose 0.6%, while the March soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange edged up 0.3%.

Meanwhile, the Dalian January palm oil contract jumped 2.5%.

Palm oil prices are impacted by changes in soyoil prices, as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oil market.  

Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1006 GMT:

Contract          Month    Last   Change     Low   High  Volume
MY PALM OIL       JAN9        0    +0.00 0 0 0
MY PALM OIL       FEB9     2136    -3.00    2133   2156    2921
MY PALM OIL       MAR9     2183    +5.00    2173   2202   16593
CHINA PALM OLEIN  JAN9     4380  +108.00    4260   4380     326
CHINA SOYOIL      JAN9     5060    -2.00    5060   5160    1916
CBOT SOY OIL      JAN9    28.18    +0.00       0      0       5
INDIA PALM OIL    JAN9   537.00    +4.30  532.60  538.8     633
INDIA SOYOIL      JAN9    756.5    +2.20   754.5  757.4    4050
NYMEX CRUDE       FEB9    50.88    +1.10   49.71  50.95  162615

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 = RM4.1130)
(US$1 = 70.3700 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.8364 Chinese yuan)