Saturday, March 6, 2010

Palm futures off 2-month highs on profit-taking


MALAYSIA palm oil futures ended off two-month highs yesterday as some traders took profits on strong external markets and expectations of bullish forecasts at a key industry conference next week.

Palm oil has gained 0.3 per cent so far this year compared to US soyoil’s 2.4 per cent decline, making it the best performing vegetable oil market.

“The prices are holding well before the Palm Oil (and Laurics) Conference, the price support level should be around RM2,650,” one trader in Kuala Lumpur said.

Benchmark May crude palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed down RM4 at RM2,670, after trading as high as RM2,700 earlier in the session, a level unseen since January 6.

Overall traded volume surged to 17,321 lots at 25 tonnes each from the usual 10,000 lots, signalling that the majority of the traders were taking positions ahead of the three day palm oil conference in Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board, the industry regulator, will release February’s palm oil stocks, production and export data on Wednesday and traders expect bullish numbers.

A Reuters poll on Friday showed Malaysia’s February palm oil stocks likely to fall for a second straight month by 5 per cent.

The survey, done among five plantations in Malaysia showed the February’s output dipped further 6 per cent. But, traders in Kuala Lumpur expected production to drop 8-9 per cent as there were lesser market days last month.

Crude oil rose above US$80 a barrel in Asian hours, after China said it would maintain its economic stimulus, giving support to most of the vegetable oil markets.

May soyoil contract at the Chicago Board of Trade edged higher while the most traded September soyoil futures in Dalian Commodity Exchange also gained slightly.


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