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Palm Oil Drops as Record Stockpiles Seen Delaying Price Recovery

January 10, 2013

Palm oil fell for a second day after data showed record stockpiles and declining exports in Malaysia, the second-largest producer, prompting analysts to push back forecasts for a price rebound during the low-output season.

The contract for March delivery lost as much as 1.2 percent to 2,358 ringgit ($781) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, and traded at 2,364 ringgit at 11:42 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur. Futures, which dropped 1 percent yesterday after the data was released, are heading for a 4.2 percent slump this week, the biggest loss since the five days ending Nov. 9.

Stockpiles rose 2.4 percent to 2.63 million tons in December, compared with a revised 2.57 million tons a month earlier, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. Output fell 5.9 percent to 1.78 million tons, the board said. Production typically starts declining from November onwards, with January and February usually recording the lowest output each year.

“Stocks are more burdensome than market expectations,” Ivy Ng, an analyst at CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., said in a report today. “This may further delay the recovery in crude palm oil prices until stocks fall back to the 2 million ton mark, while the weak palm oil export data for the first 10 days of 2013 may weaken sentiment.”

Exports dropped 25 percent to 373,462 tons in the first 10 days of January from a revised 499,732 tons in the first 10 days of December, Intertek said yesterday. Shipments retreated 34 percent, according to Societe Generale de Surveillance. Malaysia changed its export-tax structure from Jan. 1 to help draw down the reserves, with a zero rate applicable for this month.

Palm oil for May lost 0.5 percent to 6,694 yuan ($1,077) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for May fell 0.3 percent to 8,538 yuan a ton.

Soybeans for March delivery declined 0.3 percent to $13.76 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean oil for delivery in March dropped 0.4 percent to 49.57 cents a pound.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ranjeetha Pakiam in Kuala Lumpur at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at

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