* Malaysian palm exports down 15 pct for April 1-15 -ITS
* Exports fell 13.5 pct for same period -SGS
* Palm oil to fall more to 3,401 ringgit -technicals
(Updates prices, adds SGS exports data)
By Chew Yee Kiat
SINGAPORE, April 16 Malaysian palm oil futures
inched down on Monday as a drop in export numbers for the first
half of the month led some traders to book profits, although
losses were curbed by tightening edible oil supply.
Palm oil hit a 13-month high at 3,628 ringgit per tonne last
week after Malaysian stocks fell below the 2-million-tonne mark
for the first time this year, fanning fears of tighter global
supplies, given the drought hitting the South American soy crop.
But the futures market ended that week with a loss of 2.6
percent, as some traders said the market was overbought.
Malaysian palm oil exports fell by a steep 14.8 percent for
the first half of April from a month earlier, cargo surveyor
Intertek Testing Services said, although analysts said that
might not necessarily be a sign of weaker demand.
"You can't just look at what happens in 15 days and say that
demand is weak. There may be other reasons, such as timing in
shipping. We need to get the overall (export data) for the month
(to gauge demand)," said James Ratnam, an analyst at TA
Securities in Malaysia.
"It seems more like technical selling. Exports for the first
15 days down 15 percent, it could be a good excuse to sell. It
doesn't really translate into weak demand. Demand might not be
as strong as last month but 15 percent is a bit too steep."
At closing, benchmark July palm oil futures on the
Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange inched down 0.3 percent at
3,487 ringgit ($1,138) per tonne.
Traded volumes stood at 28,067 lots of 25 tonnes each,
slightly higher than the usual 25,000 lots.
On the technicals front, Reuters market analyst Wang Tao
maintained a bearish view, saying palm oil would slide further
to 3,401 ringgit per tonne.
On the supply side, Malaysia's palm oil stocks for March
fell to a seven-month low at 1.96 million tonnes, beating market
estimates and prompting some traders to lock in more crude palm
Another cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance
reported a 13.5 percent drop in exports for April 1-15, echoing
earlier data issued by ITS. Exports for refined products
suffered declines as the Indonesia tax advantage drew orders
away from No.2 producer Malaysia.
Brent crude fell below $120 on Monday as growing worries
about the global economy from Europe to China, the world's No. 2
oil consumer, reinforced concerns about slowing demand for
In other vegetable oil markets, the most active U.S. soyoil
contract for May lost 0.7 percent while the most active
Dalian soyoil September contract closed 1.4 percent
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1003 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL MAY2 3498 -19.00 3478 3518 821
MY PALM OIL JUN2 3490 -20.00 3470 3513 8228
MY PALM OIL JUL2 3487 -10.00 3458 3498 14398
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP2 8856 -136.00 8822 8890 191804
CHINA SOYOIL SEP2 9872 -140.00 9830 9898 447870
CBOT SOY OIL MAY2 56.12 -0.40 55.97 56.49 8707
NYMEX CRUDE MAY2 102.71 -0.12 101.86 102.83 17634
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)