VEGOILS-Palm oil falls to 1-week low; weak ringgit caps losses

Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:38am EDT

* Weaker ringgit makes palm oil cheaper for overseas buyer
    * India's refined palm oil imports hit record high in May
    * USDA soybeans estimate neutral to palm oil -analyst

 (Updates throughout)
    By Chew Yee Kiat
    SINGAPORE, June 13 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures
fell to a one-week low on Thursday as investors continued to
book profits from a recent rally in prices, although trading was
thin amid caution ahead of upcoming export figures for the first
half of the month.
    But a weaker ringgit currency cushioned prices of the edible
oil by making it cheaper for overseas buyers and refiners who
are restocking ahead of the Muslim festival of Ramadan. The
ringgit has lost 1.3 percent versus the dollar this week.
    A drop in palm oil stocks in Malaysia, the world's No.2
producer of the edible oil, to their lowest in nearly a year, at
1.82 million tonnes by the end of May, also checked losses.
 
    "Prices are still trading within a range, but weakness in
the ringgit should cap the downside. There is also talk about
demand picking up ahead of Ramadan," said a dealer with a
foreign commodities brokerage in Malaysia. 
    Communal feasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan,
which falls in July this year, typically drives up edible oil
consumption.
    The benchmark August contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange, which has gained 9 percent over the past
five weeks, lost 1.1 percent to close at 2,423 ringgit ($773)
per tonne on Thursday. It fell to 2,411 ringgit earlier in the
session, a level last seen on June 6.
    Total traded volumes stood at 22,235 lots of 25 tonnes each,
well below the average 35,000 lots, as traders waited for the
June 1-15 exports data by cargo surveyor Intertek Testing
Services due on Saturday.    
    India's refined palm oil imports hit a record high in May by
jumping 47.5 percent from April, a leading trade body said,
pushing total purchases of the tropical oil up for the first
time since January on lower prices and tight domestic supplies.
 
    The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report
pegged its global soybean stockpile estimate for the 2013/2014
season at 265 million bushels, within a consensus estimate of
268 million. 
    "We believe the news is neutral to crude palm oil prices as
the USDA estimate for soybean oil inventory does not change
significantly," Malaysia's Kenanga Investment Bank analyst Alan
Lim Seong Chun said in a note to clients on Thursday.    
    In other markets, Brent oil slipped to $103 a barrel on
Thursday as a subdued outlook for global demand due to weak
economic growth outweighed disruptions on the supply side and a
falling U.S. dollar. 
    In vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for July gained
0.2 percent in late Asian trade. The most-active September
soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodities Exchange
fell 0.2 percent after a three-day holiday.    
  Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1003 GMT
                                                                                    
  Contract        Month    Last   Change     Low    High  Volume
  MY PALM OIL      JUN3       0    +0.00       0       0       0
  MY PALM OIL      JUL3    2420   -29.00    2405    2455    2049
  MY PALM OIL      AUG3    2423   -28.00    2411    2460   13181
  CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3    6276   -18.00    6250    6348  470396
  CHINA SOYOIL     SEP3    7422   -16.00    7414    7486  358720
  CBOT SOY OIL     JUL3   48.22    +0.11   47.85   48.25    6643
  NYMEX CRUDE      JUL3   95.58    -0.30   95.02   95.86   18177
                                                                                    
  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=3.131 ringgit)

 (Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Himani Sarkar)
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