* Investors look towards July 1-25 export data to gauge demand
* July 1-20 palm oil exports down 13-14 pct -cargo surveyors
* Prices trade in 2,251-2,283 ringgit range
(Updates prices, releads)
By Anuradha Raghu
KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 Malaysian palm oil futures edged 0.6
percent lower in tight trade on Tuesday over demand concerns, although losses
were capped by expectations of disappointing output in July that would prevent a
sudden rise in stocks.
Palm oil inventories in Malaysia eased to a two-year low of 1.65 million
tonnes in June as demand during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan propped up
exports and helped offset a rise in output.
Demand has since tapered off and exports have dropped about 14 percent in
the July 1-20 period from a month earlier. But traders say daily average
shipments are still healthy and they would watch export data to gauge demand
Investors expect July's output to miss initial estimates as plantation
workers get shorter hours during Ramadan. Workers in the top producing states on
the island of Borneo also typically take longer leaves to return home.
"Production is a bit disappointing. We want to see whether output is coming
in as expected, or a bit on the low side," said a trader with a foreign
commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.
"The last five days of exports have been impressive. Some people are
wondering whether this is going to be the trend for the rest of the month. If
this kind of rate continues we might even see good exports."
The benchmark October contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives
Exchange fell 0.6 percent to close at 2,258 ringgit ($711) per tonne. Prices
were stuck in a tight range between 2,251 and 2,283 ringgit.
Total traded volume stood at 34,198 lots of 25 tonnes each, in line with the
average 35,000 lots.
Rising crude oil prices have burnished the appeal of palm oil as a cheaper
alternative biofuel, supporting the tropical oil.
"The rebound in palm oil prices resulted from gains in crude oil prices.
When crude oil prices soar, demand for palm oil as biofuel would increase,"
Singapore-based Phillip Futures said in a note.
In other markets, Brent crude oil fell below $108 per barrel on Tuesday as
recent strong gains in prices fed into worries about demand growth, with the
global economic recovery seen as fragile.
In vegetable oil markets, the U.S. soyoil contract for December fell
0.4 percent in late Asian trade. The most-active January soybean oil contract
on the Dalian Commodities Exchange gained 0.9 percent.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1003 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL AUG3 2341 -14.00 2341 2372 772
MY PALM OIL SEP3 2288 -8.00 2280 2312 5754
MY PALM OIL OCT3 2258 -14.00 2251 2283 15082
CHINA PALM OLEIN JAN4 5634 +26.00 5588 5642 479042
CHINA SOYOIL JAN4 7314 +68.00 7242 7326 767568
CBOT SOY OIL DEC3 45.15 -0.16 45.11 45.55 9581
NYMEX CRUDE SEP3 106.47 -0.47 106.00 107.22 23935
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 and Prateek Chatterjee)