KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 14): The FBM KLCI closed 4.13 points or 0.26% lower at 1,580.60 on profit taking and as Bursa Malaysia plantation shares tracked lower crude palm oil (CPO) prices, amid news on Malaysia and India's row on the commodity.
Analysts said news that Malaysia remains as one of the countries under the US watchlist for potential currency manipulation, could have also weighed on the KLCI. It was reported that Switzerland was added to the monitoring list, while countries including Japan, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam remained.
At Bursa Malaysia today, the KLCI closed down at 1,580.60 at 5pm on profit taking, after rising to its intraday high at 1,587.47.
At 5pm, top decliners included Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd and Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, besides Hong Leong Bank Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd.
Bursa's plantation index ended down 74.42 points or 0.97% at 7,602.32, amid lower CPO prices. CPO for March 2020 fell RM79 to RM3,013 a tonne at the time of writing.
Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong said "recent weakness in CPO prices sent the plantation sector (index) sharply lower" as investors closely-watched the Malaysia-India palm oil row, while the planned signing of the US-China Phase 1 trade agreement on Wednesday (Jan 15), supported world markets today.
Reuters, quoting industry sources familiar with the matter, reported yesterday that Indian palm oil importers have effectively stopped all purchases from Malaysia, after the government privately warned them to shun Malaysian imports.
It was reported that the warning, issued last week, comes almost in parallel with India's move to restrict imports of refined palm oil and palm olein, after Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad criticised India's actions in Kashmir and its new citizenship law.
Elsewhere, Reuters reported today that Asian shares rose, China’s yuan jumped and safe-harbour assets slipped on Tuesday, amid signs of goodwill between China and the US, as the world’s two biggest economies prepares to sign a truce in their bitter trade war.