KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 17: Malaysian palm oil futures edged up on Monday to snap a three-day losing streak, although lacklustre export demand and investor uncertainty about November crude palm oil output in the world's biggest growers capped the gain.
"People are talking about lower production, but we're not sure how much production can fall," said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.
"The market is still in sideways trading. Any new change in fundamentals may move the market, but until then it may go on like this," he added.
The benchmark February contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange had edged up 0.8 percent to 2,232 ringgit ($666) per tonne by Monday's close, with prices trading between 2,206 ringgit and 2,234 ringgit.
Total traded volume stood at 35,472 lots of 25 tonnes, slightly above the usual 35,000 lots.
Traders said a dip in export demand from Malaysia, the world's No.2 producer, could add to pressure on benchmark palm prices which have dropped 3.2 percent in the first half of November.
Exports of Malaysian palm oil products fell 4.5 percent to 598,269 tonnes between Nov. 1-15 compared to the same period a month ago, cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services showed, as shipments to Europe and India eased.
Another cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance showed exports for the same period dropped 2.5 percent.
Buyers in the northern hemisphere typically cut back use of the tropical oil during winter because of clouding in cold temperatures.
In other competing vegetable oil markets, the U.S. soyoil contract for December shed 0.2 percent in late Asian trade, while the most active May soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodities Exchange fell 0.3 percent.
In other markets, Brent crude fell more than $1 to near $78 a barrel on Monday following news that Japan, the world's fourth-biggest crude importer, had slipped into recession and after comments from the West's energy watchdog that a return to high oil prices was unlikely soon.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1015 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL DEC4 2212 +24.00 2195 2212 444
MY PALM OIL JAN5 2228 +24.00 2199 2228 9232
MY PALM OIL FEB5 2232 +17.00 2206 2234 14961
CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY5 5340 -18.00 5314 5384 889232
CHINA SOYOIL MAY5 5880 -20.00 5872 5942 458206
CBOT SOY OIL DEC4 32.15 -2.50 32.11 32.35 5027
INDIA PALM OIL NOV4 447.30 -2.50 444.50 448.40 327
INDIA SOYOIL NOV4 575.00 -3.20 575.00 581.40 3015
NYMEX CRUDE DEC4 74.82 -1.00 74.76 76.18 26895
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
India soy oil in Indian rupee per 10 kg
Crude in U.S. dollars per barrel
($1 = 3.35 Malaysian ringgit)
($1 = 6.1241 Chinese yuan)
($1 = 61.73 Indian rupee)