May 7, 2019 / 5:34 AM / 2 months ago

PREVIEW-Malaysia April palm stocks expected at 6-mth low -Reuters survey

    * April stocks expected down 5 pct at 2.77 mln T -survey
    * Output estimated down 1.9 pct at 1.64 mln T -survey
    * Exports estimated up 1.6 pct at 1.64 mln T -survey
    * Malaysian Palm Oil Board data due on May 10 

    By Emily Chow
    KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 (Reuters) - Malaysia's palm oil stocks
likely fell to a six-month low by end-April, according to a
Reuters survey, recording a second straight month of declines as
a slight gain in exports outpaced a dip in production. 
    Stockpiles in Malaysia MYPOMS-TPO, the world's
second-largest palm oil producer and exporter, likely lost 5
percent from March to 2.77 million tonnes in April, according to
the median estimate of eight planters, traders and analysts
polled by Reuters. That would be the lowest level since October.
    Easing stockpiles would help prop up benchmark prices of the
edible oil, which have lost nearly 5 percent so far
this year. 
    Palm prices were last down 1.6 percent on Monday at midday
at 2,016 ringgit ($486.25) per tonne. 
    Survey respondents also indicated they expected April
production MYPOMP-CPOTT to ease to 1.64 million tonnes, down
1.9 percent from March. Actual production at that level would be
the highest for the month of April since 2015.     
    "This year's April production will be near last year's April
level," said Phang Loy Fatt, an official with the marketing
division of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd. 
    "Though it's expected to be marginally lower month-on-month,
it's still high during this time of the year as production in
March at 1.67 million tonnes was a record high for the month,"
Phang said. 
    Output in Malaysia, the world's second-largest producer
after Indonesia, posted record levels during the first quarter,
with January, February and March all at the highest for those
months, according to Refinitiv Eikon records going back to
January 2000. 
    Poll respondents also said April exports likely rose 1.6
percent from the previous month to 1.64 million tonnes, which
would be a second month of gains. MYPOME-PO 
    "April exports should be only slightly better (from March),
as all buying was done in March," said a Kuala Lumpur-based
trader, referring to strong buying in March ahead of Ramadan. 
    The Muslim fasting month began on Monday and celebrants have
begun breaking day-long fasts with communal feasting, increasing
palm oil use for food and cooking. 
    Importers from key palm markets such as India and the Middle
East typically stock up on the edible oil one to two months
ahead in preparation for the festival. 
    "Destination markets are all full now," said the trader,
adding that importers from now would buy palm oil only on an
as-needed basis. 
    Official palm oil data will be published by the Malaysian
Palm Oil Board ‪after 0430 GMT on May 10. 
    The median results from the Reuters survey put Malaysia's
consumption in April at 231,721 tonnes. 
    Breakdown of April estimates (in tonnes): 
                         Range              Median
 Production      1,590,000 - 1,750,000     1,639,714
 Exports         1,600,000 - 1,690,000     1,643,918
 Imports            60,000 - 100,000        90,000
 Closing Stocks  2,670,000 - 2,980,000     2,771,518
* Official stocks of 2,917,443 tonnes in March plus the above
estimated output and imports yield a total April supply of
4,647,157 tonnes. Based on the median of exports and closing
stocks estimate, Malaysia's domestic consumption in April is
estimated to be 231,721 tonnes. 
    ($1 = 4.1460 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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