KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures closed near record highs on Monday, rising for a seventh session in eight, on concerns over tightening supply of global commodities after Western countries stepped up sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine.
The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange ended up 326 ringgit, or 5.46%, at 6,292 ringgit ($1,499.52) a tonne.
The spot contract surged 11.4% to end at a record 7,473 ringgit.
"The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has supported palm oil like never before," said Anilkumar Bagani, research head of Mumbai-based vegetable oils broker Sunvin Group.
Global commodity prices charged higher with strong gains in oil, grains, edible oils and metals after Russia put its nuclear deterrent on high alert and Western nations imposed new sanctions on Russia, including blocking some Russian banks from a global payments system.
Russian exports of commodities from oil and metals to grains will be severely disrupted by the sanctions, dealing a blow to Russia's economy and hurting the West with a spike in prices and inflation, traders and analysts said.
Brent crude prices soared above $100 a barrel, making palm a more attractive option for biodiesel feedstock.
Destination markets like India are turning to palm oil to cover ahead of Muslims' holy month of Ramadan as Ukrainian ports are shut, Bagani said, adding that higher price offerings and unattractive import and processing margins kept trades at bay.
"At current record high levels, palm oil prices are prone for a deep profit-taking and market would be reluctant to trade unless very necessary," he added.
Dalian's most-active soyoil contract gained 0.3%, while its palm oil contract eased 0.9%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 4.3%.
Malaysia's export in February rose between 7.2% and 9.6% from January, cargo surveyors said.