Palm sees sharpest drop this week as rival oils weaken

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 7): Malaysian palm oil futures closed down on Friday, the sharpest drop in a week after tracking rival soyoil which fell on concerns of ample global soybean supplies.

The benchmark palm oil contract for June delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange finished 1.7% lower at RM2,660 (US$599.98) a tonne, the biggest decline since March 30 and third losing session out of four.    

Palm oil fell ahead of Monday's official data on production, exports and stocks from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

But the price was 2.3% higher on the week, following two straight weekly losses.

Friday's traded volumes stood at 55,019 lots of 25 tonnes each.

"Palm is down tracking weakness in other vegetable oils," said a futures trader from Kuala Lumpur. "The market could go back down to RM2,660 levels for support."

Palm oil prices have slipped in recent weeks on expectations of rising output and tracking other edible oils lower.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected palm oil output in the world's No.2 producer Malaysia to show a 10.4% rise to 1.39 million tonnes in March, which would be the first month-on-month climb in about five months.

March inventory levels likely rose for the first time in three months to 1.46 million tonnes, according to the poll's median forecast. Exports were seen rising 7% to 1.18 million tonnes.

Palm oil is impacted by the price movements in related edible oils, including soyoil, as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market. Soybean oil on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 0.7%.

In other related vegetable oils, the September soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was down 1.6%, while the September contract for palm olein on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 1%.

Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1044 GMT

Contract          Month    Last  Change     Low   High   Volume
MY PALM OIL       APR7     2898  -24.00    2880   2898      222
MY PALM OIL       MAY7     2758  -55.00    2736   2800     2238
MY PALM OIL       JUN7     2655  -48.00    2638   2697    24184
CHINA PALM OLEIN  SEP7     5350  -56.00    5286   5426   553476
CHINA SOYOIL      SEP7     5946  -98.00    5894   6050   589768
CBOT SOY OIL      MAY7    31.15   -0.22   31.03  31.43    12312
INDIA PALM OIL    APR7   519.40   -4.10  515.90  524.4     2043
INDIA SOYOIL      APR7    633.5   -3.35   630.2  635.5    13350
NYMEX CRUDE       MAY7    52.27   +0.57   51.60  52.94   232299

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 = RM4.4335)
(US$1 = 64.2100 Indian rupees)
(US$1 = 6.8955 Chinese yuan)