Palm oil down, stocks data awaited

May 06, 2014- Reuters

Palm oil
Palm oil

Malaysian palm oil futures ended lower on Monday, stretching losses into a fourth straight day, as investors waited for an official report on export demand and stocks of the tropical oil in the world’s second-largest producer. The benchmark July contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange fell 0.4 percent to 2,583 ringgit ($794) per tonne by the day’s close, with prices trading between 2,570-2,609 ringgit.

Prices on Friday had plunged to a near three-month low of 2,558 ringgit, dragged by declines in rival soyoil markets overseas that are tracked by palm. Official data on Malaysian palm oil stocks, output and exports in April is due to be released next Monday by industry regulator the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. “The morning session was plus 10-15 points, but in the afternoon it was marginally lower. The market is trading nowhere,” said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage.

“The first 10 days’ exports report and the MPOB report are not out yet. The market has no clear direction.” Total traded volumes on Monday stood at 35,871 lots of 25 tonnes, just above the average 35,000 lots. Technicals showed that palm oil may hover above support at 2,587 ringgit per tonne as indicated by a Fibonacci retracement analysis, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.

Consumption of palm oil, used as cooking oil as well as a key ingredient for many food products ranging from biscuits to ice cream, is widely expected to climb ahead of Eidul-Fitr celebrated this year in July. Cargo surveyors reported last week that Malaysia’s palm oil exports rose between 1.3-1.7 percent in April compared with a month ago, with higher imports from the world’s biggest edible oil buyers India and China, as well as Pakistan, offset weaker demand in Europe and the United States.

But traders said demand needs to rise faster to lift prices, which have dropped nearly 3 percent this year after weakening continuously since March. “The April export data (from the surveyors) was below estimates. They (traders) were talking about 2.5-3.0 percent higher,” the Kuala Lumpur-based trader added. In competing vegetable oil markets, the US soyoil contract for July rose 0.1 percent in late Asian trade, while the most active September soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodities Exchange lost 2 percent.

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