March 30, 2018 / 11:01 AM / a year ago

VEGOILS-Palm rises, tracking U.S. soyoil; down 5 pct in March qtr

* U.S. soyoil’s 1 pct overnight gain lifts palm oil

* Malaysian palm oil exports seen higher in March over Feb

* Palm oil drops 5.2 pct in March as ringgit strengthens (Updates with closing price)

By Rajendra Jadhav

MUMBAI, March 30 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Friday, snapping a three-day losing streak, as the edible oil drew strength from overnight gains in rival soyoil on the U.S. Chicago Board of Trade and on hopes that March exports may have risen from February levels.

The benchmark palm oil contract for June delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 0.87 percent at 2,425 ringgit ($627.91) a tonne at the close. Trading volumes stood at 15,765 lots of 25 tonnes each.

Palm prices have declined 5.2 percent in March and 3.1 percent in the first quarter of the year as top importer India raised import tax on the tropical oil.

Prices could decline further this year as production is expected to rise after a dry weather El Nino phenomenon and as young trees come to maturity and increase harvested areas.

U.S. corn futures jumped nearly 4 percent on Thursday and soybeans surged more than 2 percent after the U.S. Department of Agriculture stunned traders by projecting a year-on-year decline in soybean plantings and a larger-than-expected drop in corn acres.

“Palm was following overnight gains in soyoil. The USDA report gave boost to entire soybean complex,” said a futures trader based in Kuala Lumpur.

Palm oil is also supported by expectations that March exports may have risen compared with February on account of more working days and lower prices, said a Kuala Lumpur-based dealer.

Exports of Malaysian palm oil products during March 1-25 rose 9.5 percent to 1,165,833 tonnes from 1,064,823 tonnes shipped during Feb. 1-25, inspection company AmSpec Agri Malaysia said on Monday.

The ringgit, palm’s currency of trade, was up 0.1 percent at 3.8620 per dollar around Friday evening, after rising to its highest in nearly two years earlier in the week.

Appreciation in the ringgit usually weighs on palm oil prices by making it more expensive for holders of foreign currencies.

In related oils, the Chicago Board of Trade’s May soybean oil contract jumped 1 percent on Thursday. The May soybean oil on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange rose 1 percent, while the Dalian May palm oil contract was up 0.48 percent.

Palm oil prices are impacted by movements in rival edible oils as they compete in the global vegetable oils market.

Palm oil may drop to 2,150 ringgit per tonne in three months, according to Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals Wang Tao.

$1 = 3.8620 ringgit Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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