Palm rises after 4 days of losses on likely lower February output

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 14): Malaysian palm oil futures edged higher at the midday break on Thursday, in line to chart a first day of gains in five, on expectations of slowing February output in line with seasonal trend.

The benchmark palm oil contract for April delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose 0.3% to RM2,257 (US$555.50) a tonne at the midday break.

Trading volumes stood at 11,727 lots of 25 tonnes each at noon.

"The market is up on production expectations," said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader, adding that the market was expecting output in February to decline.

Output of palm oil, the world's most widely used edible oil, typically declines during the first quarter of the year in line with seasonal trend.

The trader added that production would also decline as February has fewer working days due to national holidays for the Lunar New Year in Malaysia.  

Malaysian palm oil output in January had declined 3.9% to 1.74 million tonnes from the previous month, according to data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

In other related oils, the Chicago March soybean oil contract was down 0.1%, while the May contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 0.1%.

The Dalian January palm oil contract was up 0.1%.

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

Palm oil may keep hovering above a support at RM2,249 or bounce towards a resistance at RM2,285 per tonne, said Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.

Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 0450 GMT

Contract          Month    Last  Change     Low   High  Volume
MY PALM OIL       FEB9        0   +0.00  0 0 0
MY PALM OIL       MAR9     2217   +9.00    2210   2220     635
MY PALM OIL       APR9     2257   +7.00    2249   2262    4844
CHINA PALM OLEIN  MAY9     4780   +6.00    4754   4780  227222
CHINA SOYOIL      MAY9     5704   -8.00    5668   5710  242042
CBOT SOY OIL      MAR9    29.96   -0.03   29.94     30    2741
INDIA PALM OIL    FEB9   558.60   +0.50  558.60  559.7      42
INDIA SOYOIL      FEB9    773.3   +0.20   773.3  773.3      70
NYMEX CRUDE       MAR9    54.17   +0.27   53.90  54.22   21859

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 = RM4.0630)
(US$1 = 70.8660 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.7623 Chinese yuan)