Palm sees second day of gains, traders eye Ramadan demand

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 21): Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a second consecutive session on Friday, buoyed by stronger demand ahead of Ramadan and on a technical correction, after sharp falls earlier this week.

The benchmark palm oil contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 1%, reaching 2,530 ringgit (US$575.26) a tonne at the end of the
trading day, after earlier hitting a one-week high of 2,535 ringgit.

Traded volumes stood at 56,109 lots of 25 tonnes each at the close of trade.

"We are seeing a bit of continued correction after yesterday's rise. Demand to a certain extent is a supportive factor," said a trader from Kuala Lumpur, however, adding that the market may not sustain these gains for long. 

"Demand isn't too robust and (future) production will be a factor... it will definitely increase stocks."  

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins at the end of May, sees Muslims on day-long fast in countries such as India and the Middle East. The month-long event of fasting and feasting spurs higher palm oil demand for cooking.

Shipments from Malaysia came in weaker-than-expected between April 1 and April 20, according to cargo surveyor data. Intertek Testing Services showed a decline of 1% in exports compared with a month-ago, while Societe Generale de Surveillance showed a 4.7% rise.

Production is also seen to be rising and pulling down palm prices in the coming months, as the lingering effects of a crop-damaging El Nino wear off. 

Malaysian production rose for the full month of March, up 16.3% from February, marking its first monthly gain since September and in line with seasonal trends. 

Palm oil may break a resistance at 2,507 ringgit and gain further to 2,542 ringgit, said a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.

In related vegetable oils, soybean oil on the Chicago Board of Trade slipped as much as 0.1%, while the September soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange climbed up to 0.3%. 

The September contract for palm olein rose 0.7%.

Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL MAY7 2666 +30.00 2637 2670 598
MY PALM OIL JUN7 2590 +30.00 2550 2593 6136
MY PALM OIL JUL7 2528 +26.00 2492 2535 26506
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP7 5164 +38.00 5120 5178 444644
CHINA SOYOIL SEP7 5820 +20.00 5782 5846 533580
CBOT SOY OIL MAY7 31.89 -0.03 31.73 31.98 4707
INDIA PALM OIL APR7 517.70 +1.70 515.00 525.6 1018
INDIA SOYOIL MAY7 622.3 -0.95 621.6 624.25 11090
NYMEX CRUDE JUN7 50.76 +0.05 50.51 50.86 71262

 Palm oil prices in Malaysian ringgit per tonne
 CBOT soy oil in U.S. 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 U.S. dollars per barrel
(US$1 = 4.3980 ringgit)
(US$1 = 64.6000 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.8845 Chinese yuan)