* Prices touch 2,593 ringgit, level unseen since Oct 25
* Malaysia's Jan palm exports down 7 pct to 1.46 mln tonnes
* Exports down 6.4 pct for same period -SGS
* Palm prices to fall for a second year in 2013 -poll
(Updates prices, quotes, adds SGS export data)
By Chew Yee Kiat
SINGAPORE, Jan 31 Malaysian palm oil futures
jumped on Thursday to their highest in more than three months,
supported by better-than-expected exports and concerns over dry
weather in key soy-producing areas in Argentina.
Dry weather is starting to threaten soybean yields in parts
of Argentina's main crop belt, possibly hurting soybean oil
output and turning buyers to cheaper palm oil, which is priced
at a discount of more than $300.
Traders were also cheered by Malaysia's January palm oil
exports that fell marginally from a month ago and showed a
significant improvement from a double-digit decline earlier in
"For the first half of the month exports were very bad, but
in the last six days exports made a strong comeback," said a
trader with a foreign commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.
"If this continues into February, we will see high exports
that could help ease stocks. On top of that, external markets
are also very strong."
The benchmark April contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange rose 1.8 percent to close at 2,555 ringgit
($823) per tonne. Prices earlier went as high as 2,593 ringgit,
a level unseen since Oct. 25.
Total traded volumes stood at 45,100 lots of 25 tonnes each,
higher than the usual 25,000 lots, as investors squared their
positions ahead of a Malaysian holiday on Friday.
Malaysian palm exports in January fell 7 percent from a
month ago, said cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services, while
another surveyor, Societe Generale de Surveillance, put the
figure at 6.4 percent.
For the month, palm prices posted a gain of 4.8 percent,
mostly driven by dry weather concerns in South America that
could lower global vegetable oil output. It was their second
successive rise, following last month's gain of 2.9 percent.
But palm oil prices may still post a second straight year of
declines in 2013 as strong output from top producers Indonesia
and Malaysia overwhelm global food and fuel demand in a scenario
that has already led to record stocks, a Reuters poll of 28
analysts showed on Thursday.
Brent crude hovered near $115 per barrel, not far from a
more than three-month high, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's pledge
to stick to its bond-buying stimulus plan and upbeat euro zone
data fuelled optimism about oil demand.
In competing vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for March
delivery edged down 0.2 percent in late Asian trade, as
some traders booked profits from a 1.5 percent gain the previous
session. The most active September soybean oil contract
on the Dalian Commodity Exchange ended 1.2 percent higher,
slightly lower than its a one-week high.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1009 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL FEB3 2511 +66.00 2459 2525 385
MY PALM OIL MAR3 2526 +46.00 2496 2563 3514
MY PALM OIL APR3 2555 +45.00 2527 2593 20952
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3 7176 +122.00 7088 7180 435902
CHINA SOYOIL SEP3 8820 +104.00 8786 8838 412996
CBOT SOY OIL MAR3 52.52 -0.08 52.41 52.82 7547
NYMEX CRUDE MAR3 97.83 -0.11 97.59 98.04 11705
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)