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