* Export demand to pick up as China re-stocks palm oil -
* Prices on track to post 5th weekly gain in six
* Palm oil biased to drop to 2,565 ringgit - technicals
By Anuradha Raghu
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 Malaysian palm oil futures
inched up on Friday after export data signalled improving demand
for the tropical oil, while a possible shortage of competing
edible oil supply from the Philippines lifted prices of
Exports of Malaysian palm oil products dropped 4.6 percent
in the first half of November, cargo surveyor Intertek Testing
Services said, a slight improvement from shipments in the Nov.
1-10 period which fell a steeper 13 percent.
"The exports are not so bad. Towards the second half of the
month, exports should improve further because China will be
buying to replenish their stocks before their Lunar New Year
festival in January," said a trader with a foreign commodities
By the midday break, the benchmark January contract
on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange had inched up 0.4
percent to 2,599 ringgit ($812) per tonne, on course for its
fifth weekly gain in six. Prices moved in a tight range between
Total traded volume stood at 11,519 lots of 25 tonnes each
on Thursday, lower than the average 12,500 lots.
Palm oil prices surged this week and is on track to post a
weekly gain of 3.6 percent, fuelled by fears that super typhoon
Haiyan had caused severe damage to coconut crops in the
Philippines, disrupting coconut oil supply from the world's
A shortage of the edible oil would channel demand to palm
oil-based alternatives such as palm kernel oil PKO-MYSTH-M1,
commonly used as a raw material to produce soaps and cosmetics.
Trade volumes however are low with investors staying away
from risky bets as they waited for more information on palm oil
production. Output in October rose to 1.97 million tonnes and
market players are expecting November to produce smaller yields.
"Investors are looking for new leads besides the Philippine
issue. They want to see how the export and production situation
turns out," the Malaysia-based trader added.
The Malaysian government will also announce its December
crude palm oil export tax later Friday. The No.2 producer has
kept its export duty at 4.5 percent since March.
Another cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance will
also release export data for the Nov. 1-15 period late Friday.
Technicals showed that Malaysian palm oil is biased to drop
to its Wednesday low of 2,565 ringgit per tonne, as it has not
completed correction from the Nov. 1 high of 2,632 ringgit, said
Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
In other markets, Brent oil futures held above $108 a barrel
on Friday, heading for its biggest week since early July on
expectations the Federal Reserve will stick with its easy money
policy for now.
In competing vegetable oil markets, the U.S. soyoil contract
for December rose 0.4 percent in early Asian trade. The
most active May soybean oil contract on the Dalian
Commodities Exchange rose 0.7 percent.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 0526 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL NOV3 0 +0.00 0 0 0
MY PALM OIL DEC3 2587 +5.00 2564 2587 572
MY PALM OIL JAN4 2599 +10.00 2571 2599 5809
CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY4 6320 +16.00 6288 6330 451796
CHINA SOYOIL MAY4 7306 +54.00 7264 7324 530194
CBOT SOY OIL DEC3 41.14 +0.17 40.97 41.21 2200
NYMEX CRUDE DEC3 94.19 +0.43 93.84 94.30 3345
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 = 3.20 Malaysian ringgit)
(Editing by Anand Basu)