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JAKARTA: Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Friday as rival oils lent support, ending the week with a modest weekly gain, despite lacklustre export data.

The benchmark palm oil contract for April delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange gained 0.39% to 3,904 ringgit ($911.51) a tonne by closing time. The contract gained 1.64% for the week.

Palm was trading in a range as strength in the Dalian market supported palm prices, while “both exports data and ringgit weighing down the market”, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader said.

Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract gained 0.60%, while its palm oil contract was up 0.56%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 0.16%.

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

Meanwhile, the Malaysian ringgit appreciated 0.53% against the dollar on Friday, hitting its strongest in nine months. A stronger ringgit, which the contract is traded in, would make palm oil less attractive to foreign buyers.

Malaysian palm oil exports for Jan. 1-20 fell around 38% from the same period in December as shipments to key markets India and China tumbled, cargo surveyors said on Friday.

Malaysian palm oil prices were set to fall in 2023 to average 3,800 ringgit a tonne, down 23% from last year amid a mild recovery in production, but will likely remain above pre-pandemic levels as Indonesian policies constrict global supplies, Reuters poll showed.

Malaysia’s financial markets will be closed on Jan. 23 and Jan. 24 for the Lunar New Year holidays. Trading will resume on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

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