VEGOILS-Palm oil ends off 3-year low on stocks, U.S. fiscal woes

Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:12am EST

* Investors cautious on record stocks and U.S. fiscal woes
    * Prices hit 2,217 ringgit, lowest since Nov 2009
    * Traders looking out for Malaysia's new crude palm oil tax
for Jan

 (Updates prices, adds detail)
    By Chew Yee Kiat
    SINGAPORE, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures
fell on Thursday to their lowest in more than three years, as
record stocks and concerns that U.S. fiscal woes might drag on
global growth spooked investors.
    Despite announcements of more monetary stimulus by the U.S.
Federal Reserve, traders remained cautious as sharp differences
on the 2013 budget persisted between Congressional Republicans
and the White House, and negotiators warned the showdown could
drag on past Christmas. 
    Record high stocks in Malaysia, the world's No.2 palm
producer, also drove palm oil futures to their third straight
daily loss. 
    "The market looks exhausted at current levels, and some
correction is anticipated. But any bounce will be limited with
supply seen at record levels," a trader with a local commodities
brokerage in Malaysia said.        
    At the close, the benchmark February contract on
the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange lost 0.6 percent to
settle at 2,227 ringgit ($730) per tonne, slightly above its
intraday low of 2,217 ringgit, a level unseen since November
2009.  
    Total traded volumes surged to 34,576 lots of 25 tonnes each
after the midday break, compared to the usual 25,000 lots.
    Traders will be counting on Malaysian exporters to use their
tax-free export quota ahead of its year-end expiration and
looking to stronger Chinese demand to bolster export figures for
the first half of December. 
    India's monthly imports of cooking oil fell by a third in
November, a trade body said, largely because of a drop in
purchases of palm oil, as cold weather makes the commodity
unusable and volatile prices deterred buyers.   
    Malaysia's new crude palm oil export tax for January is also
in focus as analysts said the tax, likely to be set at zero,
could boost exports of the crude grade and ease record stock
levels.    
    In a bearish sign for palm oil,  Brent crude slipped toward
$109 a barrel on rising U.S. oil stockpiles, while fears the
world's largest economy might miss a deadline for next year's
budget and risk a recession also kept bulls in check. 
    In other vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for January
delivery lost 0.1 percent in late Asian trade. The most
active May 2013 soybean oil contract on the Dalian
Commodity Exchange closed 0.6 percent lower.  
         
  Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1003 GMT
                                                                                   
  Contract        Month    Last   Change     Low    High  Volume
  MY PALM OIL      DEC2    2090   +48.00    2051    2090     322
  MY PALM OIL      JAN3    2147    +5.00    2123    2153    1802
  MY PALM OIL      FEB3    2227   -14.00    2217    2246   12125
  CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY3    6698   -24.00    6664    6736  603440
  CHINA SOYOIL     MAY3    8610   -50.00    8586    8638  445940
  CBOT SOY OIL     JAN3   49.51    -0.03   49.36   49.71    7640
  NYMEX CRUDE      JAN3   86.25    -0.52   86.20   86.78   13389
                                                                                   
  Palm oil prices in Malaysian ringgit per tonne
  CBOT soy oil in U.S. cents per pound
  Dalian soy oil and RBD palm olein in Chinese yuan per tonne
  Crude in U.S. dollars per barrel
 
($1=3.05 Malaysian ringgit)

 (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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