KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures rallied as much as 8% on Thursday to touch a record high, as a Russian attack on Ukraine rattled global markets and raised concerns of a disruption in global edible oil supplies.
The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed up 476 ringgit, or 7.96%, to 6,458 ringgit a tonne, its biggest daily rise since November 2008.
The contract extended gains for a sixth consecutive session, its longest rally since mid-March 2021. The spot contract rose 9% to an all-time high of 7,093 ringgit.
Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two and confirmation of the worst fears of the West.
Crude oil breached $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, making palm a more attractive option as biodiesel feedstock.
“As long as Russia-Ukraine issue is not sorted out in the near term, we will continue to see new record highs, but this could be short term,” a Kuala Lumpur-based trader said.
Russia and Ukraine account for about 80% of world sunflower oil exports, and traders were worried that any military engagement could hamper crop movement and trigger a mass scramble by importers to replace supplies from the Black Sea region.
Russia has suspended movement of commercial vessels in the Azov sea until further notice, but kept its ports in the Black Sea open for navigation, its officials and five grain industry sources said.
In related oils, Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract rose 5.6% and its palm oil contract gained 5.7%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 5.7%.
In Malaysia, tight palm oil supply underpins the market as industry estimates for February so far indicate a sharp hike in exports while production lags.