Palm Futures Rise to Five-Week High

MALAYSIAN palm oil futures rose to more than a five-week high yesterday after the Lunar New Year holidays as traders priced in earlier gains from crude oil and rival soyoil.

Expectations of weaker production this month due to the Lunar New Year holidays are likely to offset poor export data reported by a cargo surveyor on Tuesday, keeping palm oil prices above the RM2,550 level, traders say.

Benchmark May crude palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange settled up 1.9 per cent or RM48 to RM2,628, a level unseen since Jan. 11.

Overall trades rose to 14,161 lots of 25 tonnes each from the usual 5,000 lots.

“Palm oil is playing catch up with other commodities after the markets were shut for two days,” said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage.

The weaker US dollar and rallying equities markets lifted crude oil towards US$78 (US$1.00 = RM3.38) a barrel yesterday. US soyoil for March delivery slipped in Asian trade after investors booked profits following a rally.

Soybean oil markets on China’s Dalian commodity exchange were closed for holidays and will reopen next Monday.

Exports of Malaysian palm oil products for Feb. 1-15 tumbled 15.6 per cent to 565,114 tonnes from 669,758 tonnes shipped between Jan. 1 and 15, cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services said on Tuesday.

But cargo surveyor, Societe Generale de Surveillance reported a less pronounced decline, saying exports fell just 5.5 per cent to 607,660 tonnes in the same period.

Source : Business Times

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