February 20, 2018 / 5:25 AM / 10 months ago

VEGOILS-Palm falls on slowing exports, ringgit strength

    * Palm falls to 2,498 rgt/T in early trade
    * Exports slightly slowing but mkt supported by tighter
output -
    * Palm remains neutral in 2,486-2,518 rgt/T range -

    By Liz Lee
    KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures
fell in early trade on Tuesday, as  export growth slowed and
sustained strength in the ringgit marred sentiment.
    The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery
on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was down 0.68 percent
at 2,498 ringgit ($642.32) a tonne at noon, reversing Monday's
    Palm had hit its lowest since Feb. 9 on Monday, before
rebounding to a gain at the day's close. 
    Trading volumes stood at 10,627 lots of 25 tonnes each.
    "Exports are slowing slightly, compared to earlier this
month when the numbers were up nearly 15 percent in the first
ten days of February," said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader.
    Exports of Malaysian palm oil products for the Feb. 1-20
period rose 8.8 percent to 791,992 tonnes from the 727,958
tonnes shipped a month ago, cargo surveyor Intertek Testing
Services said on Tuesday.
    Despite that, the trader said the Malaysian palm oil market
was supported by tightness in Indonesia's production and lower
output expected in February due to a shorter working period.
    The market's attention will soon shift towards production
figures due this Thursday, the trader added.
    Another trader said the market could have been expecting
positive exports figures, and sold on the news. "The ringgit is
partly weighing on palm as well," the trader added.
    The ringgit, palm's traded currency, retained its 
strength from Monday at 3.8890 against the dollar at noon. A
stronger ringgit usually makes palm oil more expensive for
holders of foreign currencies.
    The Chicago Board of Trade's March soybean oil contract
 rose 0.6 percent, while China's Dalian Commodity Exchange
remains closed for the Lunar New Year celebrations and will
reopen on Thursday.
    Palm oil prices are impacted by other rival edible oils as
they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.
    Palm oil looks neutral in a narrow range of 2,486-2,518
ringgit per tonne, although the bias could be towards the
upside, said Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities
and energy technicals.
    Palm, soy and crude oil prices as of 0517 GMT
 Contract                     Month      Last    Change         Low       High       Volume
 MY PALM OIL               MAR8          2515    -15.00        2508       2535          298
 MY PALM OIL               APR8          2501    -15.00        2498       2521         2171
 MY PALM OIL               MAY8          2498    -17.00        2496       2520         5123
 CHINA PALM OLEIN          MAY8             0     +0.00           0          0            0
 CHINA SOYOIL              MAY8             0     +0.00           0          0            0
 CBOT SOY OIL              MAY8         31.93     +0.20       31.68      31.99         5782
 INDIA PALM OIL            FEB8        579.00     -1.90      578.30        581          159
 INDIA SOYOIL              FEB8           737     +0.50         737      737.3           30
 NYMEX CRUDE               MAR8         62.38     +0.70       61.63      62.74        16089
  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 = 3.8890 ringgit)
($1 = 64.4150 Indian rupees)
($1 = 6.3438 Chinese yuan)    

 (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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