* Four-month low prices the previous day draw bargain
* China flash PMI index falls to 50.5 in April from March's
* Palm oil to consolidate within 2,249-2,289 ringgit
By Chew Yee Kiat
SINGAPORE, April 23 Malaysian palm oil futures
inched up on Tuesday as a drop in prices to 4-month lows in the
previous session attracted some buyers, although gains were
limited by slowing export demand.
A preliminary reading on Tuesday showed manufacturing growth
in China slowed in April, further weighing on riskier assets
such as shares and some commodities after disappointing economic
data last week triggered a sharp market sell-off.
But traders said palm oil prices drew some support from
bargain hunting after tumbling to a 4-month low the previous day
on sluggish exports and bearish external factors.
"We see some bargain hunting today, but overall sentiment is
still volatile especially on the macroeconomic front. Support
remains at 2,250 ringgit," said a trader with a foreign
commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.
The benchmark July contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange gained 0.8 percent to close at 2,272
ringgit ($743) per tonne. Prices fell to 2,250 ringgit on
Monday, a level not seen since Dec. 14.
Total traded volumes stood at 35,888 lots of 25 tonnes each,
slightly more than the average 35,000 lots seen so far this
Technical analysis showed palm oil is expected to
consolidate in a range of 2,249 to 2,289 ringgit for one trading
session before resuming its downtrend, Reuters market analyst
Wang Tao said.
SLUGGISH PALM EXPORTS
Malaysian palm oil exports for April 1-20 fell 6.4 percent
to 864,206 tonnes from 922,987 tonnes shipped during March 1-20,
cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance said.
Sluggish exports could prevent end-stocks from easing below
the psychological 2-million-tonne mark, putting more pressure on
palm oil prices. Inventory level fell to 2.17 million tonnes in
March, down 11 percent from February's 2.44 million tonnes.
In other markets, Brent crude fell below $99 a barrel after
weaker-than-expected manufacturing data from China and Germany
darkened the outlook for fuel demand.
The flash HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 50.5 in
April from 51.6 the month before as new export orders shrank in
China. The PMI's 50-point level demarcates growth from
contraction from the month before.
In other vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for July
delivery edged down 0.6 percent in late Asian trade. The
most-active September soybean oil contract on the Dalian
Commodities Exchange fell 1 percent.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1005 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL MAY3 2265 +20.00 2255 2275 301
MY PALM OIL JUN3 2275 +23.00 2255 2285 4599
MY PALM OIL JUL3 2272 +17.00 2255 2288 18090
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3 6020 +8.00 5938 6046 605500
CHINA SOYOIL SEP3 7412 -72.00 7376 7444 873788
CBOT SOY OIL JUL3 48.28 -0.31 48.28 48.75 8901
NYMEX CRUDE JUN3 88.39 -0.80 87.80 89.40 32156
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 = 3.056 ringgit)
(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Himani Sarkar)