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JAKARTA: Malaysian palm oil futures closed higher and recorded a weekly gain on Friday, tracking the strength in rival oils at the Dalian and Chicago markets.

The benchmark palm oil contract for August delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 86 ringgit, or 2.26%, at 3,890 ringgit ($830.31) a metric ton on the closing. The contract gained 2.13% this week.

“The futures were seen trading higher today following bullish momentum in Chicago soyoil futures overnight and in South American market prices,” Anilkumar Bagani, commodity research head at Mumbai-based Sunvin Group said.

Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract rose 2.08%, while its palm oil contract gained 1.76%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 0.47%. 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 June export tax for crude palm oil at 8% and lowered its reference price to 3,956.06 ringgit ($845.13) per metric ton for June, compared with May’s 4,273.93 ringgit a ton, a circular on the Malaysian Palm Oil Board website showed on Thursday. According to cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services, exports of Malaysian palm oil products for May 1-15 fell 5.2% to 600,777 metric tons from 633,680 metric tons shipped during the same period in April. Cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS) estimates exports of Malaysian palm oil products for May 1-15 at 426,947 metric tons, according to LSEG.

Soybean harvesting in flood-hit Rio Grande do Sul state reached 85% of the area planted with the oilseed, up from 78% last week, according to crop agency Emater on Thursday.

Oil prices steadied on Friday, with global benchmark Brent set for its first weekly gain in three weeks as economic indicators from big consumers China and the United States bolstered hopes for higher demand. Stronger crude oil futures make palm a more attractive option for biodiesel feedstock.

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