* Palm oil prices slip to lowest since March 19
* Lower output in March crucial for palm in coming months
* Prices could fall to 1,953 ringgit in Q2 -technicals
By Anuradha Raghu
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 Malaysian palm oil
futures fell to a more-than-one-week low on Thursday, with
investors avoiding risky moves as they await key industry export
data due next week.
Fears over Cyprus's bailout deal damaging the euro zone's
fragile recovery roiled global financial and commodity markets,
including palm, most of this week and kept investors on edge.
Palm's dismal export performance in the first 25 days of the
month also upset market players and weighed on prices, which
have lost more than three percent this week. Exports fell 7.5
percent over the period from March 1 to 25, from a month ago,
due to a slowdown in shipments of crude palm oil.
Traders are now waiting for cargo surveyor data on exports
for the full month, due next Monday, and industry regulator data
on output and inventory, due in mid-April, to gauge palm's
direction in the coming months.
"The market is consolidating and is still unsure -- there's
no new factor currently moving this market," said a trader with
a foreign commodities brokerage in Malaysia.
"Everything depends on the production in March. If
production this month is lower, then you will see stocks
breaking below 2 million tonnes, for sure," he added.
The benchmark June contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange lost 1.5 percent to 2,411 ringgit ($779)
per tonne by the close, which is also its intraday low, a level
unseen since March 19.
Total traded volume stood at 43,185 lots of 25 tonnes each,
higher than the average 35,000 tonnes seen so far this year.
Technicals for the next quarter were bearish for Malaysian
palm oil. Prices are expected to fall to 1,953 ringgit,
indicated by its wave pattern and a Fibonacci ratio analysis,
said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
Stockpiles in February in Malaysia, the world's No.2
producer, inched down 5 percent from January to stand at 2.44
million tonnes now. Stocks had hit a record high of 2.63 million
tonnes in December as strong production and tepid global demand
caused prices to tumble more than 20 percent in 2012.
Traders say total exports of palm oil products in March need
to rise above 1.5 million tonnes for prices to recover, but also
stressed that output of the vegetable oil would play a big role.
"It's very critical this month. If the base production is
low this month, then for the next few months you'll still have a
low base," the Malaysia-based trader said.
In other markets, Brent futures held above $109 a barrel on
Thursday on hopes of a revival in demand growth in the world's
biggest consumer, the United States, following a surprise fall
in product inventories, while worries over Europe's debt
problems capped gains.
In vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for May delivery
lost 0.4 percent in late Asian trade. The most-active
September soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodities
Exchange closed 0.8 percent lower.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1003 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL APR3 2370 -40.00 2370 2400 62
MY PALM OIL MAY3 2401 -33.00 2399 2419 3159
MY PALM OIL JUN3 2411 -37.00 2411 2431 21048
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3 6294 -88.00 6278 6420 593314
CHINA SOYOIL SEP3 8036 -66.00 8020 8144 633428
CBOT SOY OIL MAY3 50.60 -0.21 50.50 50.95 5069
NYMEX CRUDE MAY3 96.64 +0.06 96.45 96.94 13859
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
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)