VEGOILS-Palm ends off 3-month high on exports, South American weather
* Prices touch 2,593 ringgit, level unseen since Oct 25 * Malaysia's Jan palm exports down 7 pct to 1.46 mln tonnes -ITS * Exports down 6.4 pct for same period -SGS * Palm prices to fall for a second year in 2013 -poll (Updates prices, quotes, adds SGS export data) By Chew Yee Kiat SINGAPORE, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures jumped on Thursday to their highest in more than three months, supported by better-than-expected exports and concerns over dry weather in key soy-producing areas in Argentina. Dry weather is starting to threaten soybean yields in parts of Argentina's main crop belt, possibly hurting soybean oil output and turning buyers to cheaper palm oil, which is priced at a discount of more than $300. Traders were also cheered by Malaysia's January palm oil exports that fell marginally from a month ago and showed a significant improvement from a double-digit decline earlier in the month. "For the first half of the month exports were very bad, but in the last six days exports made a strong comeback," said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur. "If this continues into February, we will see high exports that could help ease stocks. On top of that, external markets are also very strong." The benchmark April contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose 1.8 percent to close at 2,555 ringgit ($823) per tonne. Prices earlier went as high as 2,593 ringgit, a level unseen since Oct. 25. Total traded volumes stood at 45,100 lots of 25 tonnes each, higher than the usual 25,000 lots, as investors squared their positions ahead of a Malaysian holiday on Friday. Malaysian palm exports in January fell 7 percent from a month ago, said cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services, while another surveyor, Societe Generale de Surveillance, put the figure at 6.4 percent. For the month, palm prices posted a gain of 4.8 percent, mostly driven by dry weather concerns in South America that could lower global vegetable oil output. It was their second successive rise, following last month's gain of 2.9 percent. But palm oil prices may still post a second straight year of declines in 2013 as strong output from top producers Indonesia and Malaysia overwhelm global food and fuel demand in a scenario that has already led to record stocks, a Reuters poll of 28 analysts showed on Thursday. Brent crude hovered near $115 per barrel, not far from a more than three-month high, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's pledge to stick to its bond-buying stimulus plan and upbeat euro zone data fuelled optimism about oil demand. In competing vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for March delivery edged down 0.2 percent in late Asian trade, as some traders booked profits from a 1.5 percent gain the previous session. The most active September soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange ended 1.2 percent higher, slightly lower than its a one-week high. Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1009 GMT Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume MY PALM OIL FEB3 2511 +66.00 2459 2525 385 MY PALM OIL MAR3 2526 +46.00 2496 2563 3514 MY PALM OIL APR3 2555 +45.00 2527 2593 20952 CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3 7176 +122.00 7088 7180 435902 CHINA SOYOIL SEP3 8820 +104.00 8786 8838 412996 CBOT SOY OIL MAR3 52.52 -0.08 52.41 52.82 7547 NYMEX CRUDE MAR3 97.83 -0.11 97.59 98.04 11705 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=3.1 ringgit) (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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