March 7, 2013 / 10:27 AM / 5 years ago

VEGOILS-Palm oil rises to one-week high, industry data eyed

* Investors look ahead to USDA Friday report -trader
    * Market participants also await Monday's MPOB stocks report
    * Prices touch high of 2,442 ringgit, level last seen on
Feb. 27

 (Updates throughout)
    By Chew Yee Kiat
    KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures
rose to a one-week high on Thursday, drawing support from
expectations of a bullish industry report and a lower palm oil
inventory level, although gains were curbed by investor caution.
    Traders are looking ahead to Friday's U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) report, which is expected to trim its outlook
for soybean supplies, according to a Reuters poll.
    The Malaysian Palm Oil Board's report on the country's
February inventory level due on Monday may also sway the market,
with a Reuters survey of five plantation companies showing
stocks may drop to a 6-month low on seasonal slowing output.
    But investor caution remained after leading analysts
presented differing price forecasts for the year at the biggest
annual meeting on the edible oil, which ended on Wednesday.
    "The palm market is still undecided on which direction to go
yet. Now we're all looking at the soy side and the USDA data
tomorrow," said a Singapore-based trader with a global
commodities house. 
    "As you can see, the market is still under pressure as
traders don't dare to put much hope into it yet," the trader
added, referring to the slightly bullish USDA report.
    The benchmark May contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange closed up 1.5 percent at 2,435 ringgit
($785) per tonne, slightly below its intraday high at 2,442
ringgit, a level unseen since Feb. 27.
    Total traded volume stood at 28,800 lots of 25 tonnes each,
slightly higher than the usual 25,000 lots.
    Price forecasts from six speakers at the Bursa Malaysia palm
oil conference in the Malaysian capital ranged from 1,800 to
3,200 ringgit, with the main focus on top analysts James Fry and
Dorab Mistry.
    Mistry was neutral on near-term prices, saying prices should
range between 2,300 and 2,500 ringgit until the end of April but
might fall after that, while a more bullish Fry expected prices
to climb to 2,625 ringgit by mid-year on biodiesel demand. 
    In other markets, Brent crude futures steadied around $111
per barrel on Thursday as traders eyed central bank meetings and
economic data this week to get a better picture on the prospects
for oil demand in the world's top consumers. 
    In competing vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for May
delivery gained 0.1 percent in late Asian trade. The
most-active September soybean oil contract on the
Dalian Commodity Exchange was down 1 percent.
  Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1015 GMT
  Contract        Month    Last   Change     Low    High  Volume
  MY PALM OIL      MAR3    2420   +34.00    2380    2420     144
  MY PALM OIL      APR3    2430   +39.00    2381    2436    1865
  MY PALM OIL      MAY3    2435   +36.00    2384    2442   16002
  CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3    6570   -52.00    6566    6636  485582
  CHINA SOYOIL     SEP3    8258   -80.00    8246    8336  621474
  CBOT SOY OIL     MAY3   50.31    +0.05   49.85   50.36    4298
  NYMEX CRUDE      APR3   90.79    +0.36   90.22   90.83   10476
  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=3.1 ringgit)    

 (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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