* Malaysia's Jan 1-10 palm exports fall 25 pct -ITS
* Exports drop 34 pct for same period -SGS
* Malaysia Dec palm oil stocks up 2.4 pct to record 2.63 mln
(Updates prices, adds SGS exports data)
By Chew Yee Kiat
SINGAPORE, Jan 10 Malaysian palm oil futures
fell to a three-week low on Thursday, weighed down by falling
exports and persistently high stocks in the world's No.2
producer of the edible oil.
Exports of Malaysian palm oil products for Jan. 1-10 tumbled
25 percent to 373,462 tonnes from a revised 499,732 tonnes
shipped during Dec. 1-10, cargo surveyor Intertek Testing
Services said on Thursday.
Another cargo surveyor, Societe Generale de Surveillance,
reported a steeper 34 percent drop in exports during the same
period, to 343,081 tonnes.
The fall came despite Malaysia's zero percent export tax
that was expected to boost crude palm oil shipments and amid
stricter Chinese regulations on edible oil imports that may have
deterred some exporters.
"Exports were bad for the first ten days. A lot of people
think that with the new tax structure, exports should improve,
but it's not necessarily so because for the past few years we
already have a 3-million-tonne per year duty-free export quota,"
said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage in Malaysia.
"For the longer term, yes, the tax structure is positive but
if you expect an immediate impact for the first ten days, I
don't think it's possible."
The benchmark March contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange lost 1.2 percent to close at 2,383 ringgit
($789) per tonne, off an earlier low at 2,356 ringgit, a level
not seen since Dec. 21.
Total traded volume stood at 50,625 lots of 25 tonnes each,
more than twice the usual 25,000 lots.
Palm oil could face further pressure as data released by the
Malaysian Palm Oil Board after the midday break showed stocks
climbed 2.4 percent from the previous month to a new record at
2.63 million tonnes, fuelling concerns that inventory levels
could remain high well into January.
The data went against market expectations that stocks are
likely to have dropped 2.5 percent to 2.5 million tonnes.
Malaysia's weather office maintained its forecast for heavy
rain, saying the downpour may cause floods in low-lying areas in
the key palm producing state of Sarawak and could disrupt
Brent crude futures jumped towards $113 on Thursday after
news of a sharp cut in Saudi oil production, an explosion in
Yemen which halted most of the country's oil exports and
following bullish Chinese trade data.
In competing vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for March
delivery was flat in late Asian trade, with investors
awaiting a U.S. Department of Agriculture supply-demand report
due to be released on Friday.
The most active May soybean oil contract on the
Dalian Commodity Exchange had edged up 0.2 percent by 0540 GMT.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1008 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL JAN3 2300 +5.00 2285 2321 52
MY PALM OIL FEB3 2334 -32.00 2314 2392 2374
MY PALM OIL MAR3 2383 -29.00 2356 2433 23888
CHINA PALM OLEIN MAY3 6726 -102.00 6722 6874 642526
CHINA SOYOIL MAY3 8562 -56.00 8556 8666 366328
CBOT SOY OIL MAR3 49.64 +0.00 49.37 49.97 5775
NYMEX CRUDE FEB3 94.38 +1.28 93.08 94.39 36272
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)