Palm heads for 2nd session of gains on improving exports

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 15): Malaysian palm oil futures rose in early trade on Wednesday, heading for a second consecutive session of gains, on the back of support from improving exports and strong physical prices.

Benchmark palm oil futures for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange were up 0.7% at 2,772 ringgit (US$623.06) a tonne at the midday break. In the previous session, they had hit their lowest since Oct 21, 2016. 

Traded volumes stood at 22,380 lots of 25 tonnes each at Wednesday noon.

"Physical prices are still strong and export figures are improving. Earlier exports were down by 25 percent, now they are down by 5.5 percent," said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader.

"Now, we are expecting March 1-20 export data to be up.

We're looking at India as their demonetisation exercise is over and they are coming to buy for Ramadan."

Palm oil exports for the first 10 days of March declined 25% from a month earlier, showed cargo surveyor data.

However, for the first half of March, shipments declined 5.5% on month, data from Intertek Testing Services showed.

India, the world's largest consumer of vegetable oils and the largest importer of Malaysian palm oil, is seen buying more of the tropical oil ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in late May.

The Muslim fasting month sees a higher usage of palm oil for cooking purposes, as Muslims break fast with feasting at the end of the day. 

In other related vegetable oils, soybean oil on the CBOT was up 0.2%, while the May soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.2%. 

The May contract for palm olein on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose 1%.

Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 0513 GMT

Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL MAR7 3020 +35.00 3000 3020 104
MY PALM OIL APR7 2898 +33.00 2879 2898 545
MY PALM OIL MAY7 2772 +20.00 2756 2777 9811
CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY7 5826 +58.00 5710 5872 375958
CHINA SOYOIL MAY7 6356 -14.00 6294 6390 303722
CBOT SOY OIL MAY7 32.36 +0.06 32.22 32.47 3106
INDIA PALM OIL MAR7 526.70 +4.90 525.00 529 234
INDIA SOYOIL MAR7 651.5 +4.75 650 652 1100
NYMEX CRUDE APR7 48.52 +0.80 48.32 48.87 30898

 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 = 4.4490 ringgit)
(US$1 = 65.5375 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.9131 Chinese yuan)