VEGOILS-Palm oil ends off 3-week high on global growth fears
* Prices hit 3-week high at 3,062 ringgit, succumb to econ worries
* Malaysian palm oil exports for June 1-20 up 15 pct -ITS, SGS (Updates prices, adds details)
By Chew Yee Kiat
SINGAPORE, June 21 (Reuters) - Malaysian crude palm oil futures edged lower on Thursday as traders booked profits from rallies earlier in the week, while sentiment also turned cautious on weak economic data and disappointing stimulus measures by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Palm oil prices hit a three-week high after the midday break on concerns that dry weather in the United States could tighten global oilseeds supply, but the gain could not be sustained as bleak data showing a slowdown in Chinese and European factory activity took centrestage.
The move by the Fed to extend its programme of selling short-term securities and buying longer-dated ones disappointed investors who had hoped for a third round of quantitative easing, weighing on financial markets across the board.
Benchmark September palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange slipped 1.4 percent to close at 3,000 ringgit ($945) per tonne. Prices went as high as 3,062 ringgit, a level unseen since June 1.
Traded volumes stood at 36,568 lots of 25 tonnes each, much higher than the usual 25,000 lots as activities picked up after the midday break.
Palm oil prices are however on track for a more than 5 percent gain this week, after three straight weeks of losses.
"The Greek election brought in some funds buying," said a trader with a domestic commodities brokerage in Malaysia, referring to gains in palm oil earlier this week on optimism stemming from the victory of pro-bailout parties in Greece.
"However the surge also brought in demand destruction and palm olein prices above $990 saw very few takers."
Rising exports confirmed stronger demand for the tropical oil on last-minute buying ahead of the Muslim fasting month that starts in late July.
Malaysian palm oil exports grew 15 percent to above 990,000 tonnes in the first 20 days of the month, said cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services and Societe Generale de Surveillance.
Adding to the supportive factors for palm oil was the dry weather in the United States as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said unfavourable weather had damaged soybean crop quality.
A lower soybean crop to be crushed into soybean oil could shift more demand to the cheaper refined palm oil.
Brent crude oil hit an 18-month low of $91 per barrel on Thursday as the outlook for economic growth darkened, pointing to lower-than-expected energy consumption worldwide.
In other vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for July delivery lost 1.0 percent. The most active January 2013 soyoil contract on the Dalian commodity exchange edged down 0.2 percent. Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1012 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume MY PALM OIL JUL2 2984 -51.00 2970 3032 1458 MY PALM OIL AUG2 2996 -49.00 2980 3054 4182 MY PALM OIL SEP2 3000 -41.00 2986 3062 23751 CHINA PALM OLEIN JAN3 7946 -14.00 7882 7980 361144 CHINA SOYOIL JAN3 9440 -14.00 9396 9474 527894 CBOT SOY OIL JUL2 50.30 -0.51 50.16 50.84 9241 NYMEX CRUDE AUG2 80.68 -0.77 79.92 81.20 38496
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=3.175 Malaysian ringgit) (Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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