* Palm stocks likely eased in March to 2.35 mln T -Reuters
* March output expected down 1.2 pct m/m to 1.28 mln T
(Updates prices, adds comments)
By Anuradha Raghu
KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 Malaysian palm oil futures
edged up to more than one-week highs in thin trade on Monday as
investors pinned their hopes on stockpiles having eased further
in March, signalling stronger demand for the tropical oil,
although the ringgit's recent rise capped gains.
Traders are looking ahead to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board
(MPOB) data on March's inventory levels, due on Wednesday, to
help gauge supply and demand fundamentals.
A Reuters poll forecast Malaysia's palm oil stocks in March
to have edged lower to 2.35 million tonnes as production likely
eased 1.2 percent from a month ago.
Stocks stood at 2.44 million tonnes at the end of February,
down from a record 2.63 million tonnes at the end of December.
"The market is kind of slow today prior to the MPOB data,
but should be supportive because we're expecting stocks to
reduce," said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage in
But a strong ringgit will make margins turn worse for
refiners, the trader said. "Most likely refiners will opt to
stay on the sidelines, because if they buy CPO the margins will
be very negative," the trader said.
By Monday's close, the benchmark June contract on
the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange had climbed 1.7 percent
to 2,400 ringgit ($784) per tonne. Prices earlier in the day
touched 2,402 ringgit, the highest since March 29.
Total traded volumes were thin at 26,880 lots of 25 tonnes
each, compared to the average 35,000 lots seen so far this year.
The ringgit edged 0.1 percent lower against the dollar on
Monday, giving up some gains after hitting its highest in more
than 2 months on Friday due to short-covering ahead of upcoming
Investors are also keeping an eye on cargo surveyor export
data due on Wednesday that will reveal Malaysia's shipments of
palm oil products for the first ten days of April.
Higher demand for refined products in March had helped
offset lower crude palm oil shipments caused by a 4.5 percent
export duty implemented for the month. The duty was up from zero
percent in February.
In other markets, Brent crude rose towards $105 per barrel
on Monday as plans to stimulate Japan's economy lifted financial
markets, but the oil benchmark remained near an eight-month low
on worries over global economic growth and fuel demand.
In vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for May delivery
rose 1.0 percent in late Asian trade. The most active
September soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodities
Exchange climbed 0.7 percent.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1004 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL APR3 2364 +28.00 2359 2364 71
MY PALM OIL MAY3 2394 +41.00 2368 2395 1231
MY PALM OIL JUN3 2400 +41.00 2375 2402 16758
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3 6282 +44.00 6168 6294 537224
CHINA SOYOIL SEP3 7918 +58.00 7790 7926 554164
CBOT SOY OIL MAY3 49.35 +0.52 48.69 49.41 11528
NYMEX CRUDE MAY3 93.34 +0.64 92.71 93.54 14267
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 Tom Hogue and Muralikumar Anantharaman)