* Palm hits 2,484 ringgit per tonne, highest since Nov 20
* Tax difference could spur demand for Malaysia's crude palm
* Palm oil's 3-month target at 2,217 ringgit -technicals
(Releads, updates prices)
By Anuradha Raghu
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 Malaysian palm oil futures
climbed to a five-week high on Thursday on expectations for
stronger demand and as monsoon-driven floods in the country's
key producing regions sparked concerns of supply disruptions.
Malaysian crude palm oil cargoes are likely to be cheaper
than rival Indonesia's with the former setting its January
export tax rate at zero compared to the latter's 7.5 percent.
The price advantage could spur demand for Malaysian crude
palm oil at a time when production is seasonally lower and faces
potential disruption from heavy rains, lifting hopes that record
stocks could come down after driving down prices by 22 percent
"The gains today are mostly headline driven with the flood
news and all that, although it (the flood) has been easing a bit
after Christmas," said a dealer with a foreign commodities
brokerage in Malaysia.
"There has also been active buying of palm as traders
attempt to narrow its price gap to soybean oil at around a $280
per tonne level."
The benchmark March contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange rose to 2,484 ringgit ($810) per tonne --
the highest level seen since Nov. 20 -- before settling at 2,479
ringgit, two percent higher than previous day's close.
Total traded volumes stood at 37,912 lots of 25 tonnes each,
higher than the usual 25,000 lots.
Technical analysis showed that palm oil is expected to end
the current rebound around 2,615 ringgit and fall to its Dec. 13
low of 2,217 ringgit over the next three months.
Malaysian palm oil futures are expected to recover in the
first quarter of next year even after the market faces its
biggest yearly loss since 2008 on expected stronger demand for
crude palm oil.
Exports in the first 25 days of December rose as much as 3
percent due to bigger purchases from India, the world's top
edible oil importer, and the United States, cargo surveyor data
Brent crude oil slipped below $111 a barrel as nervous
investors watched talks to avert a U.S. budget crisis that could
push the world's biggest economy back into recession.
In other competing vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for
January delivery rose 0.9 percent in late Asian trade on
expectations of strong Chinese food demand. The most active May
2013 soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity
Exchange rose 0.5 percent.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1006 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL JAN3 2350 +42.00 2299 2350 703
MY PALM OIL FEB3 2434 +48.00 2386 2435 4099
MY PALM OIL MAR3 2479 +49.00 2424 2484 16605
CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY3 7016 +130.00 6848 7018 941560
CHINA SOYOIL MAY3 8634 +40.00 8524 8636 692036
CBOT SOY OIL MAR3 49.19 +0.49 48.51 49.21 5617
NYMEX CRUDE FEB3 91.22 +0.24 90.75 91.35 12901
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
(Additional reporting by Chew Yee Kiat; Editing by Himani