* Palm's wide discount to soy will stir demand -trader
* Palm oil to rise to 2,522 ringgit -technicals
* India may raise import duties for edible oils by end-March
By Anuradha Raghu
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 Malaysian palm oil futures
rose to their highest in nearly 4 weeks on Wednesday, fuelled by
expectations that dry weather could hurt crops in top soy
producer Argentina and shift demand to the cheaper edible oil.
Dryness in parts of Argentina, the world's No.3 exporter of
soybeans, has raised supply concerns and pushed up prices,
potentially turning buyers to palm oil, now trading at a
discount of more than $300 a tonne.
"The rise of palm oil in the last few days is attributable
to external strength. A lot of investors believe that the
discount between palm and soy is quite big, and this will stir
demand for palm," said a trader with a foreign commodities
brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.
"Buyers are always turning to cheaper options if possible.
People will jump at this kind of opportunity. The cheapest oil
will always prevail."
The benchmark April contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange rose 1.4 percent to close at 2,510 ringgit
($814) per tonne, just off its intraday high of 2,512 ringgit, a
level unseen since Jan. 3.
Total traded volumes stood at 24,129 lots of 25 tonnes each,
slightly smaller than the usual 25,000 lots, with traders
waiting for cues from January's export data which will be
released on Thursday.
Technical analysis shows palm oil is expected to rise to
2,522 ringgit per tonne, as it has cleared a resistance at 2,486
ringgit, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
Leading industry analyst Dorab Mistry said on Wednesday that
he expected India, the world's biggest edible oil buyer, to hike
import duties on palm oil and soyoil again by the end of March
to protect its domestic oilseed farmers.
In January, India raised its duty on crude imports to 2.5
percent from zero and lifted a six year freeze on taxable value
of cargoes to curb cheap imports from top palm suppliers
Indonesia and Malaysia.
But Malaysia, the world's No.2 producer, will continue to
offer the market's cheapest vegetable oil in February as top
rival Indonesia will increase its crude palm oil export tax to 9
percent while Malaysia maintains its duties at zero percent.
Brent crude oil fell slightly on Wednesday but held close to
a three-month high above $114 a barrel, underpinned by optimism
about the U.S. economy after data showed a recovery was gaining
In competing vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for March
delivery rose 0.4 percent in late Asian trade. The most
active September soybean oil contract on the Dalian
Commodity Exchange closed 0.5 percent higher.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1011 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL FEB3 2450 +48.00 2410 2450 498
MY PALM OIL MAR3 2480 +37.00 2442 2480 3787
MY PALM OIL APR3 2510 +35.00 2474 2512 14501
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3 7072 +64.00 7000 7080 361290
CHINA SOYOIL SEP3 8734 +40.00 8664 8748 435582
CBOT SOY OIL MAR3 51.92 +0.21 51.60 52.03 7548
NYMEX CRUDE MAR3 97.70 +0.13 97.32 97.75 10042
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)