- The ringgit -- palm's currency of trade -- fell 0.3% against the dollar on Wednesday, making the commodity cheaper for holders of other currencies. It has lost nearly 3% of its value so far this year.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's palm oil inventories fell more than expected in February as production declined to its lowest in five years and imports plunged, industry regulator data showed on Wednesday.
Stockpiles in the world's second-largest producer of palm oil fell 1.8% from January to a three-month low of 1.3 million tonnes, according to Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) data.
Crude palm oil production fell 1.85% from the previous month to 1.11 million tonnes, marking a fifth straight month of declines, as a labour shortage and adverse weather conditions continued to curb yields.
"Production is much lower compared to Malaysian Palm Oil Association and all other market estimates," said Marcello Cultrera, institutional sales manager & broker at Phillip Futures in Kuala Lumpur.
Imports, which slipped 47% month-on-month, were way lower than expected, while a 6% monthly rise in domestic consumption beat market estimates, he added.
Exports slumped 5.5% to 895,556 tonnes, their lowest since February 2007, the MPOB said.
However, a weakening ringgit is expected to boost demand in the second half of March, said Paramalingam Supramaniam, director at Selangor-based brokerage Pelindung Bestari.
The ringgit -- palm's currency of trade -- fell 0.3% against the dollar on Wednesday, making the commodity cheaper for holders of other currencies. It has lost nearly 3% of its value so far this year.
A Reuters survey forecast inventories to rise 7% to 1.42 million tonnes. Production was seen picking up for the first time in five months, while exports were pegged to rise 0.5%, the survey showed.