NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures extended losses into a fifth straight session on Friday to hit their lowest in one month, tracking weaker soybean prices in Chicago, while slowing demand growth and higher inventories also weighed.
The palm oil contract for August delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was down 0.46 percent at 2,376 ringgit ($596.69) a tonne at the midday break.
Trading volume stood at 16,735 lots of 25 tonnes.
A Kuala Lumpur-based palm oil trader said palm oil fell because of weakness in the so-called soy complex of soybeans, soyoil and soymeal.
The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade lost 4.9 percent this week. Soybeans on Friday hit their lowest since Feb. 6 at $9.72-1/2 a bushel.
“The palm oil market is lower in line with the weakness in soybean which is bearish after the decision by China to start selling soybeans from its state reserves,” said another Kuala Lumpur-based palm oil trader.
China will start auctions of soybeans from its state reserves from June 14, the National Grain Trade Centre said.
Palm oil is influenced by movements in rival edible oils and oilseeds as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.
Demand for palm oil continues to be weak.
Malaysia’s palm oil exports in May dropped 8.8 percent from April to around 1.2 million tonnes, independent inspection company AmSpec Agri Malaysia said last week.
In Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil exporter, shipments of palm and palm kernel oils plunged 13.6 percent in April, data from the Indonesia Palm Oil Association showed.
“We have entered a slower growth phase for palm oil demand and it will reflect in the contract for some more time,” said the second Kuala Lumpur-based trader.
Buying for Ramadan has fizzled out as most buyers have already stocked up the vegetable oil.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began in mid-May this year, is marked by communal fasting and feasting that boosts consumption of vegetable oils, including palm and soy, in the Middle East and across South and Southeast Asia.
A bearish target at 2,364 ringgit remains intact for palm oil, as it stays below a resistance at 2,408 ringgit per tonne, said Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.
Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Sunil Nair