Palm hits lowest levels since year began on weaker exports expectations

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 27): Malaysian palm oil futures declined for a fourth day on Wednesday, falling to their weakest levels since the start of the year on expectations of weaker demand, a stronger ringgit currency and weaker related edible oils.

Gains in the ringgit, palm's currency of trade, usually make the edible oil more expensive for foreign buyers. The ringgit was last up 0.1% against the dollar at 4.0640 and are trading at its strongest levels in about six months.   

The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange dropped 2.3% to RM2,132 (US$524.61) a tonne at the close of trade.

It earlier fell to RM2,129, its lowest levels since Dec 31.

"Exports are seen to be down, the market is seeing long liquidation," said a Kuala Lumpur based trader.

Another trader said that palm was weighed down by weaker related edible oils.

Cargo surveyors are scheduled to report Malaysia's export data for the full month of February after 0300 GMT on Thursday.

In other related oils, the Chicago March soybean oil contract was last down 0.7%.

The May soyoil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange declined 0.5% and the Dalian May palm oil contract was down 1.2%.

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

Palm oil may slide further into a range of RM2,142-2,154 per tonne, said Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.

Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1113 GMT

Contract          Month    Last  Change     Low   High  Volume
MY PALM OIL       MAR9     1920  -62.00    1908   2039    1324
MY PALM OIL       APR9     2079  -56.00    2079   2169   13636
MY PALM OIL       MAY9     2132  -51.00    2129   2208   40992
CHINA PALM OLEIN  MAY9     4562  -54.00    4558   4604  292910
CHINA SOYOIL      MAY9     5656  -28.00    5640   5684  262050
CBOT SOY OIL      MAR9    29.88   -0.21   29.78  30.19    3528
INDIA PALM OIL    FEB9   549.70   -1.40  548.70  552.4     441
INDIA SOYOIL      MAR9   758.75   -2.30   757.6    762    7340
NYMEX CRUDE       APR9    56.33   +0.83   55.72  56.36   96135

Palm oil prices in Malaysian ringgit per tonne
CBOT soy oil in US 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 US dollars per barrel

(US$1 = RM4.0640)
(US$1 = 70.9850 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.6925 Chinese yuan)