The benchmark June contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivative exchange ended down MYR7 at MYR2,570 a metric ton after trading in a range of MYR2,554-MYR2,594/ton.
Conflicting estimates released by cargo surveyors SGS (Malaysia) Bhd. and Intertek Agri Services on Malaysia's March 1-20 palm oil exports prompted bulls and bears to battle it out in the market.
Over the weekend, Intertek estimated exports were up 3.4% on month at 873,931 tons, just a little over market expectations of 873,000 tons.
The news provided some support for CPO prices and allowed bulls to push the thin market trade into positive territory despite crude oil prices falling below the crucial $80 a barrel psychological barrier during Asian trading hours today.
However, estimates by SGS prompted the bears to come out in full force.
The surveyor's data showed exports during March 1-20 fell 2.4% on month to 844,474 tons.
Depending on which data participants preferred to follow, CPO prices began trading in a volatile manner, see-sawing between positive and negative territory.
"The bears won in the end, as there are fears that production is up, perhaps by 5%-10%, and this may push up end-March stock levels," said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader.
In the cash market, palm olein for July/August/September traded at $800/ton, said an executive from a Singapore-based commodities brokerage.
Cash CPO for prompt shipment was offered unchanged at MYR2,630/ton.
Open interest on the BMD was 79,157 lots Monday, down from 81,225 lots Friday. One lot is equivalent to 25 tons.
A total of 12,691 lots of CPO were traded versus 15,432 lots Friday.
Closing BMD Crude Palm Oil (CPO) futures prices in MYR/ton at 1000 GMT: Month Close Previous Change High Low Apr 2010 2,635 2,620 Up 15 2,637 2,592 May 2010 2,590 2,583 Up 07 2,610 2,568 Jun 2010 2,570 2,577 Dn 07 2,594 2,554 Jul 2010 2,558 2,565 Dn 07 2,580 2,544-By Fawziah Selamat, Dow Jones Newswires; +62 21 3983 1277; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 22, 2010 06:52 ET (10:52 GMT)