Palm edges up, snaps losing streak

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 13): Malaysian palm oil futures recovered ground on Monday, after earlier hitting a five-and-a-half month low, as industry association data showing shrinking output eased concerns over high inventories and rising production.  

The market had fallen earlier on concerns over the U.S.-China trade war and expectations of rising output in the coming months.

Global stocks and commodities markets fell as the United States and China appeared at a deadlock over trade negotiations on Sunday, with Washington demanding promises of concrete changes to Chinese law and Beijing saying it would not swallow any "bitter fruit" that harmed its interests. 

The benchmark palm oil contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was last up 0.1% at 1,985 ringgit (US$476.93) a tonne at the close of trade on Monday, snapping three previous sessions of losses.

The market earlier fell as much as 1.2% to 1,960 ringgit, its lowest levels since Nov 27.

"The market recovered losses due to the Southern Peninsular Palm Oil Millers Association data," said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader, noting the data showed declining output during the first 10 days of May versus the corresponding period last month.

Another trader had said earlier in the day that the occurrence of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, could curb output in May as well.

Ramadan, which began on May 5 this year, sees Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to dusk. This slows down productivity in oil palm estates, as many workers are from Muslim-majority Indonesia and work in plantation estates is labour-intensive.

Data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board showed production in April fell 1.4% from the previous month to 1.65 million tonnes, while inventories fell 6.6% to 2.73 million tonnes.

Palm oil may fall into a range of 1,953-1,967 ringgit per tonne, said Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals Wang Tao.
    
In related oils, the Chicago July soybean oil contract dropped 1.2%, while the May soyoil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange traded flat.

The Dalian May palm oil contract slipped 1%.

Palm oil prices are affected by movements in soyoil, with which it competes for global market share.    
                      
 Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1114 GMT

Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL MAY9 0 +7.00 0 0 0
MY PALM OIL JUN9 1958 +7.00 1930 1959 1412
MY PALM OIL JUL9 1984 +2.00 1960 1986 16446
CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY9 4092 -42.00 4092 4206 230
CHINA SOYOIL MAY9 0 +0.00 0 0 0
CBOT SOY OIL JUL9 26.47 -0.32 26.35 26.63 10153
INDIA PALM OIL MAY9 521.00 +2.80 517.50 521 509
INDIA SOYOIL MAY9 747.65 +6.15 741.6 747.75 4870
NYMEX CRUDE JUN9 62.46 +0.80 61.21 62.68 195157

 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 = 4.1620 ringgit)
(US$1 = 70.4882 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.8784 Chinese yuan)