Palm Oil Retreats From Four-Week High on China Import Concerns

Palm oil retreated from the highest level in a month as data showing gains in exports from Malaysia were countered by concerns shipments to China, the world’s biggest cooking oil buyer, may decrease.

The contract for March delivery was little changed at 2,427 ringgit ($790) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange at the midday break after climbing to 2,440 ringgit, the highest price for the most-active contract since Nov. 27. Futures rose 5.9 percent last week and have lost 24 percent this year.

Export from Malaysia, the largest shipper after Indonesia, gained 0.5 percent in the first 25 days of December to 1.28 million tons, surveyor Intertek said today. Imports by China may fall in the beginning of 2013 as the country enforces the national food-safety standards on shipments starting Jan. 1, researcher Grain.gov.cn said in an e-mailed report.

“This may actually slow down exports to China early next year,” Ryan Long, vice president of futures and options at OSK Investment Bank Bhd., said by phone today.

China’s palm oil imports may fall to 750,000 tons in January through February, compared with a total of 1.35 million tons in November through December, when buyers boosted purchases to avoid potential restrictions, Grain.gov.cn said.

Production in Indonesia may rise to 27.05 million tons in 2013 from an estimated 23.52 million tons this year, Agriculture Minister Suswono said in Jakarta today.

Palm oil for May delivery was little changed at 6,868 yuan ($1,101) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for May lost 0.2 percent to 8,582 yuan a ton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bangkok at ssuwannakij@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jake Lloyd-Smith at jlloydsmith@bloomberg.net

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