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Palm reverses early losses, climbs to 13-year high on supply squeeze

  • Palm oil extends five-day rally to highest since March 2008.
  • March 1-10 exports fell 22% m/m.
  • Feb-end stocks, output fell more than expected.
Published March 10, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures reversed early losses on Wednesday and closed at a 13-year high as February inventories and production fell more than anticipated, but a slump in exports during the first 10 days of March capped the gains.

The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange ended up 60 ringgit, or 1.53%, at 3,975 ringgit ($963.64) a tonne.

Palm rose for a sixth straight day to its highest since March 2008.

It had earlier declined as much as 1.7% after data from cargo surveyors showed exports during March 1 to 10 slumped 22% from the same period in February.

The lower exports would weigh on palm, albeit on a temporary basis, said Paramalingam Supramaniam, director at Selangor-based brokerage Pelindung Bestari.

"Competing oils like soybean and sunflower are at multi-year highs, thus palm prices will remain defensive," he added.

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 fell 1.8% from January to a three-month low of 1.3 million tonnes, while output fell 1.85% to 1.11 million tonnes, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board said.

Dalian's most-active soyoil contract fell 0.7%, while its palm oil contract gained 0.3%, but they were not far from a more than eight-year high hit on Monday.

Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 0.2%.

Palm oil is affected by price movements in related oils as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.

Malaysia is in talks with Saudi Arabia to increase the kingdom's imports of the edible oil to 500,000 tonnes in the near future, state media Bernama reported.

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