Palm edges up on stronger exports

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 1): Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Monday as cargo surveyor data showed stronger March exports, although gains were capped by concerns about higher production.

The benchmark palm oil contract for June delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed 0.3% higher at 2,113 ringgit a tonne (US$518.02), having earlier gained as much as 0.7% to reverse part of the previous two sessions' 1.4% loss.

"The export numbers are encouraging, but the market has already priced (that) in," said Anilkumar Bagani, research head of Sunvin Group, a Mumbai-based vegetable oil broker, referring to the cargo surveyor data.

Intertek Testing Services said Malaysia's palm oil shipments in March rose 22.4% from a month earlier, while AmSpec Agri Malaysia said exports increased 22.9% last month.

Malaysia saw higher demand from the Middle East, Africa and China, according to ITS data.

Another cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance reported on Monday evening a 28.1% gain over the same period.

Capping palm's gains was a forecast that Malaysian palm oil production had risen in March, in line with a seasonal trend, after declining for the previous four months. 

In other related oils, the Chicago May soybean oil contract rose by 0.5%, while the May soyoil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange slipped 0.1%.

The Dalian May palm oil contract rose 0.3%.

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

(US$1 = 4.0790 ringgit)