March 14, 2012 / 5:17 AM / 5 years ago

VEGOILS-Palm oil at 9-mth high on exports, U.S. data

* Demand prospects raise investor sentiment
    * Malaysian exports for March 1-15 due Thursday
    * Palm oil futures up 6.8 percent this year

 (Updates prices)	
    By Chew Yee Kiat	
    SINGAPORE, March 14 (Reuters) - Malaysian crude palm oil
futures rose to a nine-month high on Wednesday as recovering exports
raised demand prospects for the edible oil and upbeat U.S. economic data
lifted investor confidence.	
    While the U.S. Federal Reserve provided few clues on further monetary
easing, it offered a slight upgrade to its economic outlook, which
together with rising retail sales reinforced the view the world's biggest
economy is on the road to recovery. 	
    An improvement in Malaysian exports for the first ten days of March
has also helped palm oil extend its gain to 6.6 percent this year,
although optimism was somewhat clouded by an unexpected rise in February
palm oil stocks. 	
    "Exports seemed good for the month as we see from the first ten days,
we should expect higher exports this month," said a trader with a foreign
brokerage in Kuala Lumpur. "Besides that, soybean oil is up and crude oil
is still above $125, so these are supportive factors for palm oil."	
    Benchmark May palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange rose 0.6 percent to close at 3,385 ringgit ($1,110)
per tonne. Prices touched a new high of 3,395 ringgit, a level not seen
since last June. 	
    Traded volumes on Wednesday stood at 24,003 lots of 25 tonnes each,
slightly lower than the usual 25,000 lots.	
    The rise in stocks in February was due to a slowdown in exports, but
early March data showed a 32 percent surge in exports, pointing to
stronger demand prospects for this month.    	
    Cargo surveyors Intertek Testing Services and Societe Generale de
Surveillance will issue export data for March 1-15 on Thursday.	
    Brent crude dipped below $126 on Wednesday as expectations for a
build in U.S. crude inventories and a stronger dollar offset support from
improving economic sentiment in the world's top oil consumer.    	
    In other vegetable oil markets, the most active U.S. soyoil contract
for May delivery edged down 0.2 percent in Asian trade after
climbing earlier on worries over tighter supplies due to the South
American drought.	
    The most active September 2012 soyoil contract on China's
Dalian Commodity exchange edged up 0.6 percent as Chinese demand for
edible oil remained healthy.	
    "Prices are going up, tracking soybean oil in external markets.
Recovering Malaysian palm oil exports in early March also provided
support," said Zhang Ru Ming, research manager with Liangyun Futures in
Dalian.	
    "Right now the market is looking out for the official planting
forecasts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture due at the end of the
month to get a gauge of soybean output for the year," he added.   	
  Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1004 GMT
                                                                         
  Contract        Month    Last   Change     Low    High  Volume
  MY PALM OIL      MAR2    3390   +32.00    3380    3402      82
  MY PALM OIL      APR2    3380   +18.00    3358    3390    1078
  MY PALM OIL      MAY2    3385   +20.00    3358    3395   12358
  CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP2    8582   +16.00    8562    8688  282606
  CHINA SOYOIL     SEP2    9612   +54.00    9586    9718  698192
  CBOT SOY OIL     MAY2   54.76    -0.11   54.55   55.12    9866
  NYMEX CRUDE      APR2  106.28    -0.43  106.12  106.91   20533
                                                                         
  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=3.05 Malaysian ringgit)	
	
 (Editing by Chris Lewis and Joseph Radford)

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