Palm falls to two-week low on higher production outlook

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 13): Malaysian palm oil futures on Monday hit a two-week low, recording a second straight session of declines, as prices were weighed down by prospects of improving levels in production. 

Benchmark palm oil futures for April delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was down 1.2% at 3,036 ringgit (US$682.71) a tonne at the close of trade. It earlier fell to 3,019 ringgit, palm's weakest levels since Jan 31. 

Traded volumes stood at 68,361 lots of 25 tonnes each in the evening.

"Production figures are bearish (on prices), as it is seen picking up in February. Production is coming in and the flood season is over," said a futures trader from Kuala Lumpur, adding however that there may not be a steep decline in prices.

"The market is still holding at the 3,013 ringgit levels.

Spot month prices are still very strong."

Increasing output of the tropical oil, as the effects of the crop-damaging El Nino fade out, could ease palm's benchmark prices, which are trading at a more than four-year high now.

Production for January declined 13.4% to 1.28 million tonnes, its sharpest drop in a year, according to data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board on Friday.

Heavy rainfall across the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia also had an impact on output last month, as floods hindered the fruit-harvesting process. 

Palm oil may drop to 3,014 ringgit per tonne, as it has broken a support at 3,089 ringgit, said Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals Wang Tao.

In other related edible oils, the March soybean oil contract on the Chicago Board of Trade declined as much as 0.8%, while the May soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.8%.

The May contract for Dalian palm olein dropped as much as 1.6%.

Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1043 GMT

Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL FEB7 3259 -18.00 3250 3300 88
MY PALM OIL MAR7 3133 -24.00 3111 3175 2131
MY PALM OIL APR7 3035 -35.00 3019 3093 27606
CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY7 6146 -98.00 6140 6302 815044
CHINA SOYOIL MAY7 6868 -58.00 6860 6978 500438
CBOT SOY OIL MAR7 34.33 -0.28 34.25 34.68 7042
INDIA PALM OIL FEB7 572.00 -6.00 570.40 575.9 944
INDIA SOYOIL FEB7 698 -5.45 697.3 701 5590
NYMEX CRUDE MAR7 53.51 -0.35 53.29 53.95 81082

 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 = 4.4470 ringgit)
(US$1 = 67.0100 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.8772 Chinese yuan)