Palm Oil Gains to Six-Week High as China Signals Demand Rebound

Palm advanced to the highest level in almost six weeks after data showed China’s manufacturing increased, fueled by domestic demand, and as a weaker Malaysian currency boosted the appeal of the ringgit-denominated futures.

The contract for November delivery climbed as much as 0.5 percent to 2,347 ringgit ($707) a metric ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives, the highest for the most-active contract since July 12, and was at 2,338 ringgit at 12:03 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. Palm oil for physical delivery in September was at 2,395 ringgit yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The preliminary reading of 50.1 for the Chinese Purchasing Managers’ Index released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics compares with a final figure of 47.7 in July and the 48.2 median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A number above 50 indicates an expansion. Malaysia’s palm oil exports to China, the largest buyer after India, rose 49 percent in the first 20 days of August from the same period last month, an estimate from surveyor SGS (Malaysia) Sdn. show.

China is “likely to boost palm oil demand with stronger economic data,” Sim Han Qiang, an analyst with Phillip Futures Pte in Singapore, wrote in a report today.

Refined palm oil for January delivery was little changed at 5,536 yuan ($904) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil was also little changed at 7,122 yuan a ton.

The Malaysian currency touched 3.3228 per dollar today, the weakest level since June 2010, after minutes from a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting in July showed policy makers back Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s plan to reduce stimulus.

“The weaker ringgit makes palm oil slightly more attractive in terms of pricing to price-sensitive customers like India or Pakistan,” Arhnue Tan, an analyst at Alliance Investment Bank Bhd., said by phone in Kuala Lumpur.

Soybean oil for delivery in December fell 0.3 percent to 43.05 cents a pound on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans for November delivery lost 0.5 percent to $12.97 a bushel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ranjeetha Pakiam in Kuala Lumpur at rpakiam@bloomberg.net

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

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