KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures ticked up on Tuesday as trading resumed after a long holiday weekend, with stronger rival Dalian vegetable oils underpinning the market, although low volumes of trade limited gains.

The benchmark palm oil contract for March delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose 26 ringgit, or 0.70%, to 3,764 ringgit ($812.26) at closing, reversing losses from the previous two sessions.

Lack of participants and low volume of trade as a result of the holiday weekend will dominate the contract, said Mitesh Saiya, trading manager at Mumbai-based firm Kantilal Laxmichand & Co.

“Low production and lower exports have also made traders confused on taking positions,” Saiya said.

Exports of Malaysian palm oil products during Dec. 1-Dec. 25 were estimated to be down between 4% and 16% from the previous month, according to data from surveyors Intertek Testing Services and AmSpec Agri Malaysia.

Malaysian palm oil futures down

Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract rose 0.85%, while its palm oil contract was up 1.44%.

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

Malaysia maintained its January export tax for crude palm oil at 8% and raised its reference price, according to a circular on the Malaysian Palm Oil Board website.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, said last week it would slap palm oil companies operating within forest areas with fines amounting to a total of 4.8 trillion rupiah ($310.1 million).

Oil steadied on Tuesday, finding support from geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and investor optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve would soon start cutting interest rates, boosting global economic growth and fuel demand.

Stronger crude oil futures make palm a more attractive option for biodiesel feedstock.

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