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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures dropped nearly 2% on Monday, dragged down by steep losses in crude oil and forecast of a plunge in Aug. 1-10 exports of the vegetable oil.

The benchmark palm oil contract for October delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed down 77 ringgit, or 1.8%, at 4,197 ringgit ($993.14) a tonne.

Oil prices slumped 4% due to a rising US dollar and concerns that new COVID-19 restrictions in Asia, especially China, could slow a global recovery in fuel demand.

Weaker crude oil futures make palm a less attractive option for biodiesel feedstock.

Market talk pegged export shipments during Aug. 1-10 to fall 21% from the previous month, according to traders.

Cargo surveyors are expected to release export data on Wednesday, while the Malaysian Palm Oil Board is also scheduled to announce July supply and demand data this week.

Malaysia’s palm oil stockpile at the end of July likely expanded to its highest in 10 months, as a drop in exports offset a decline in production, a Reuters survey showed on Thursday.

The market focus is also turning back to movement curbs, rising COVID-19 cases and related vegetable oils, said Anilkumar Bagani, research head of Mumbai-based vegetable oils broker Sunvin Group.

Quarantine measures at Chinese ports are reportedly delaying shipments and increasing freight charges, which could cause some short covering at markets including India, Bangladesh, Europe and Pakistan, Bagani said.

Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract gained 1.2%, while its palm oil contract rose 1.3%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade were down 1%.

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

Bursa Malaysia will be closed on Tuesday for a public holiday.

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