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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures rose for a third straight day on Monday, buoyed by expectations of weak January supply and hopes of better exports in February.

The benchmark palm oil contract for April delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed up 63 ringgit, or 1.9%, at 3,438 ringgit ($846.17) a tonne.

The contract fell 3.3% last week.

There were talks about demand improving in February and March as importing nations are stockpiling, said Paramalingam Supramaniam, director at Selangor-based brokerage Pelindung Bestari.

Investors are also awaiting data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scheduled this week.

A Reuters survey showed on Friday Malaysia’s palm oil inventories at the end of January likely ticked up for the first time in four months as a deep plunge in exports offset output which tumbled to near 5-year low.

MPOB numbers are widely expected to remain within analyst expectations, but the USDA report could be the game changer, with all eyes on end stocks of both soyabean and corn, said Paramalingam. “Prices will remain defensive at least until both these reports. Physical buying will remain steady, and there will be coverings ahead of the Lunar holiday season,” he added, referring to the Lunar New Year period beginning Friday.

Dalian’s most-active soyaoil contract rose 1.3% while its palm oil contract gained 1.6%.

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