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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures inched higher at close on Wednesday after trading in a tight range on the back of a longer-than-expected export ban in top producer Indonesia, although prices still held near a five-week low hit in the previous session.

The benchmark palm oil contract for August delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange gained 20 ringgit, or 0.33%, to 6,136 ringgit ($1,396.61) a tonne. It closed at its lowest since April 11 at 6,116 ringgit on Tuesday.

The market traded sideways while waiting for an update on May production, which is expected to be slow or remain in negative growth, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader said.

Indonesia has halted exports of crude and refined palm oil since April 28, which investors had hoped to be resumed within a few weeks as storage tanks fill up.

However, the ruling remains in place until domestic cooking oil prices fall.

The delay in lifting the ban may result in buyers further switching the palm oil origins for the already traded but yet to be shipped Indonesian palm oil shipments from June onwards, said Anilkumar Bagani, research head of Mumbai-based vegetable oils broker Sunvin Group.

“Meanwhile, surprisingly, the Indonesian palm oil ban could not help palm oil prices to gain much as the destination demand has been quiet sighting high prices.” Exports of Malaysian palm oil products for May 1-15 rose 23.9% to 613,649 tonnes from the same week in April, cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance said on Tuesday.

Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract fell 0.2%, while its palm oil contract fell 0.05%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade were down 0.4%.

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

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