January 28, 2020 / 5:39 AM / in a month

VEGOILS-Palm oil slides on worries over demand from top buyers

    * Palm oil falls 7% intraday, biggest in over 7 years 
    * Shipments to India could hit nearly 9-year low in Jan

 (Adds midday prices)
    JAKARTA, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures fell
as much as 7% on Tuesday, their most in over seven years, as a
fast-spreading coronavirus in China raised fears over demand
already hit by a diplomatic spat with India. 
    The benchmark palm oil contract          for April delivery
on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange hit its lowest level
since Nov. 28, 2019 at 2,660 ringgit per tonne before settling
down 5.7% at 2,699 ringgit ($663.96) by the midday break. 
    "It is because of the virus (that) all commodities are
down," a Kuala Lumpur-based trader told Reuters.
    China's death toll from the virus has risen to 106 from 81
the day before while the number of total confirmed cases surged
to 4,515, as of Jan. 27, from 2,835 a day earlier.             
    After three months of sharp gains, palm oil prices have
declined 11.5% so far in January, mainly after New Delhi slapped
curbs on imports of refined palm oil and informally asked
traders to halt all palm imports from Malaysia due to a
diplomatic row.
    India's monthly palm oil imports from Malaysia could fall to
the lowest level in nearly nine years in January, traders and
refiners told Reuters.             
    Further weighing on palm oil prices was soyoil's overnight
movement on the Chicago Board of Trade, which hit a six-week
low. It last traded 1.1% lower.             
    Palm oil is generally affected by price movements in related
oils as its competes for a share in the global vegetable oil
    Meanwhile, the ringgit fell 0.4% against the dollar, making
palm oil cheaper for holders of foreign currencies. 

($1 = 4.0650 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Fathin Ungku; editing by Uttaresh. and Subhranshu
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