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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures closed at a near two-week high on Monday, extending last week’s gains on small end-March inventories, although gains were limited by higher-than-expected production and a plunge in early-April exports.

The benchmark palm oil contract for June delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed down 85 ringgit, or 1.44%, at 6,006 ringgit ($1,420.19) a tonne.

Last week, palm had gained 6.4%.

Malaysia’s end-March palm oil inventories shrank for a fifth consecutive month, down 2.99% from the month before to 1.47 million tonnes as a surge in exports erased production growth, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) data showed.

Palm logs 6% weekly gain ahead of supply-and-demand data

Production for the month jumped 24% to 1.41 million tonnes, while exports rose 14.1% to 1.27 million tonnes, both exceeding industry estimates.

“Inventories are still holding at one-year lows and at the lower end of the March estimates, with still a tight situation at destinations markets,” said Marcello Cultrera, institutional sales manager & broker at Phillip Futures in Kuala Lumpur.

Limiting gains, exports of Malaysian palm oil products for April 1-10 fell around 26% from the same week in March, cargo surveyors said.

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures climbed on Friday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its forecast for South American production and also cut its estimate for U.S. stocks.

Soyoil prices on the Chicago exchange retreated 0.7% following a near 3% rise on Friday. Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract gained 0.6%, while its palm oil contract rose 1%.

With Black Sea ports blocked, Ukraine is able to export 600,000 tonnes of grain and oilseeds a month, but may increase export capacity to 2 million tonnes, Ukrainian traders union UGA said.

Ukraine is major exporter of sunflower oil, but shipments have halted after Russia’s attack on blocked ports, forcing Ukraine to find new routes amid a global edible oil shortage.

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