VEGOILS-Palm oil inches up on improving exports, typhoon concerns
* Export demand to pick up as China re-stocks palm oil - trader * Prices on track to post 5th weekly gain in six * Palm oil biased to drop to 2,565 ringgit - technicals By Anuradha Raghu KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures inched up on Friday after export data signalled improving demand for the tropical oil, while a possible shortage of competing edible oil supply from the Philippines lifted prices of palm-based substitutes. Exports of Malaysian palm oil products dropped 4.6 percent in the first half of November, cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services said, a slight improvement from shipments in the Nov. 1-10 period which fell a steeper 13 percent. "The exports are not so bad. Towards the second half of the month, exports should improve further because China will be buying to replenish their stocks before their Lunar New Year festival in January," said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage. By the midday break, the benchmark January contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange had inched up 0.4 percent to 2,599 ringgit ($812) per tonne, on course for its fifth weekly gain in six. Prices moved in a tight range between 2,571-2,599 ringgit. Total traded volume stood at 11,519 lots of 25 tonnes each on Thursday, lower than the average 12,500 lots. Palm oil prices surged this week and is on track to post a weekly gain of 3.6 percent, fuelled by fears that super typhoon Haiyan had caused severe damage to coconut crops in the Philippines, disrupting coconut oil supply from the world's biggest exporter. A shortage of the edible oil would channel demand to palm oil-based alternatives such as palm kernel oil PKO-MYSTH-M1, commonly used as a raw material to produce soaps and cosmetics. Trade volumes however are low with investors staying away from risky bets as they waited for more information on palm oil production. Output in October rose to 1.97 million tonnes and market players are expecting November to produce smaller yields. "Investors are looking for new leads besides the Philippine issue. They want to see how the export and production situation turns out," the Malaysia-based trader added. The Malaysian government will also announce its December crude palm oil export tax later Friday. The No.2 producer has kept its export duty at 4.5 percent since March. Another cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance will also release export data for the Nov. 1-15 period late Friday. Technicals showed that Malaysian palm oil is biased to drop to its Wednesday low of 2,565 ringgit per tonne, as it has not completed correction from the Nov. 1 high of 2,632 ringgit, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. In other markets, Brent oil futures held above $108 a barrel on Friday, heading for its biggest week since early July on expectations the Federal Reserve will stick with its easy money policy for now. In competing vegetable oil markets, the U.S. soyoil contract for December rose 0.4 percent in early Asian trade. The most active May soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodities Exchange rose 0.7 percent. Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 0526 GMT Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume MY PALM OIL NOV3 0 +0.00 0 0 0 MY PALM OIL DEC3 2587 +5.00 2564 2587 572 MY PALM OIL JAN4 2599 +10.00 2571 2599 5809 CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY4 6320 +16.00 6288 6330 451796 CHINA SOYOIL MAY4 7306 +54.00 7264 7324 530194 CBOT SOY OIL DEC3 41.14 +0.17 40.97 41.21 2200 NYMEX CRUDE DEC3 94.19 +0.43 93.84 94.30 3345 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 = 3.20 Malaysian ringgit) (Editing by Anand Basu)
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