VEGOILS-Palm slips to lowest in nearly 3 weeks, export data eyed
* Prices hit 2,394 ringgit, lowest since June 6 * Traded volumes thin at 25,843 lots * Malaysia June 1-25 export data due Tues (Updates prices) By Chew Yee Kiat SINGAPORE, June 24 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures fell to their lowest in almost three weeks on Monday as they tracked weaker soybean oil markets, but losses were limited by expectations of robust export data on Tuesday. Soybean oil prices were pressured as optimal crop weather in the U.S. Midwest raised prospects of higher soybean supplies. Palm oil tends to track soybean oil prices closely as the two are close substitutes. But palm oil losses were trimmed by export data for the June 1-20 period and expectations that strong demand would continue. "Prices are tracking losses in overseas soybean oil ... Fundamentals are still positive with exports going strong and the ringgit still weak," said a trader with a local commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur. The benchmark September contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange lost 1.5 percent to close at 2,403 ringgit ($746) per tonne. Prices earlier fell to an intraday low of 2,394 ringgit, a level last seen on June 6. Total traded volumes were thin at 25,843 lots of 25 tonnes each, well below the average 35,000 lots. Traders are looking ahead to higher demand ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that begins in July this year. Consumption of the edible oil typically rises during the period as Muslims gather for communal feasts. On top of that, a weaker ringgit against the dollar could spur more purchases of crude palm oil as it makes the feedstock cheaper for overseas buyers. Cargo surveyors Intertek Testing Services and Societe Generale de Surveillance will issue June 1-25 Malaysian palm oil exports on Tuesday. Export data for the June 1-20 period showed a monthly increase of as much as 16 percent. Higher shipments and stagnant production growth would ease Malaysian palm oil stocks further in June after a decline to 1.82 million tonnes at end-May, the lowest in nearly a year. Analysts feared palm oil harvesting in Malaysia could slow this month, as smoke from land-clearing fires in Indonesia pushed air pollution above hazardous levels in several parts of Johor. "We are concerned that the severe haze may cripple palm oil supplies from estates engulfed by the haze," Ivy Ng, an analyst with Malaysia's CIMB Investment Bank, said in a note on Monday. In other markets, Brent crude futures traded around $101 a barrel on Monday, hurt by a stronger dollar and concerns over slower growth in demand for oil in the United States and China. In vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for July edged down 0.6 percent in late Asian trade. The most-active January soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodities Exchange lost 2.3 percent. Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1004 GMT Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume MY PALM OIL JUL3 2390 -41.00 2385 2416 364 MY PALM OIL AUG3 2409 -37.00 2401 2434 4828 MY PALM OIL SEP3 2403 -36.00 2394 2429 14439 CHINA PALM OLEIN JAN4 5918 -118.00 5902 6016 562994 CHINA SOYOIL JAN4 7376 -176.00 7352 7460 836728 CBOT SOY OIL JUL3 47.73 -0.29 47.60 48.05 3779 NYMEX CRUDE AUG3 93.59 -0.10 92.67 93.94 28038 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=3.22 ringgit) (Editing by Joseph Radford and Tom Hogue)
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