Palm Oil Slips to 2-wk Low as Equity Markets Eyed

JAKARTA: Malaysian palm oil futures dropped to their lowest in almost two weeks on Tuesday, hit by a decline in other vegetable oil prices and fragile equity markets, but a weak local currency helped curb losses.

The benchmark April contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange ended 1.1 percent lower at 2,529 ringgit ($760) per tonne. Prices earlier reached a low of 2,519 ringgit, a level not seen since Jan. 15.     Total traded volume amounted to 35,987 lots of 25 tonnes, slightly above the usual 35,000 lots.

Palm was affected as the May soybean oil contract, the most active on the Dalian Commodities Exchange, declined 1.8 percent to its lowest level since 2006. Emerging markets steadied after three days of intense selling due to concerns that slower growth in China and reduced U.S. monetary stimulus could hurt some economies dependent on exports and foreign capital.

“External factors, like the Dalian dropping to a new low, are pushing the market down, with big drops in stock markets too,” said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage in Malaysia.  

It hasn’t fallen too drastically because weakness in the ringgit is helping the palm market avoid a sharp fall. The market is moving into a bear market.”

The ringgit fell to its lowest since May 2010 on Monday, and although it recovered slightly on Tuesday, its potential to climb was limited by expectations of a further reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus. 

weaker ringgit improves margins for overseas buyers and refiners, lifting demand for palm oil, which is used in a variety of household products from soaps to cookies and chocolate.

Market participants were looking for more clues on global demand.

“Things are trading within a tight range,” said a second trader, at a foreign commodities brokerage in Malaysia. He added that prices might trade firmer ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Exports of Malaysian palm oil products for Jan. 1-25 fell 10.5 percent to 1,017,662 tonnes from 1,137,374 tonnes shipped during Dec. 1-25, cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance said late on Monday.

In other markets, Brent crude oil rose to $107 a barrel as the steepest fall in three weeks prompted buying, but concerns over turmoil in emerging markets and a slowdown in China kept gains in check.

Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1056 GMT

Contract
Month
Last
Change
Low
High
Volume
MY PALM OIL
 FEB4
2515
-25.00
2509
2527
179
MY PALM OIL
 MAR4
2527
-25.00
2514
2535
1754
MY PALM OIL
 APR4
2532
-27.00
2519
2544
15880
CHINA PALM OLEIN
MAY4
5660
-124.00
5660
5750
330686
CHINA SOYOIL
MAY4
6436
-116.00
6430
6518
422758
CBOT SOY OIL
MAR4
37.14
+0.08
36.91
37.21
7626
NYMEX CRUDE
 MAR4
96.16
+0.44
95.63
96.28
11004

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
Crude in U.S. dollars per barrel ($1 = 3.3472 Malaysian ringgits)- Reuters

Source: The Star

Leave a Reply