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Palm Oil Ends Little Changed on Weak Export Demand Outlook

Palm oil ended little changed on concern that weakening demand among importers may boost global stockpiles even as production in Malaysia, the second-biggest grower, dropped to a seven-month low.

The February-delivery contract closed at 3,002 ringgit ($945) per metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange in Kuala Lumpur after trading in a range of 2,980 ringgit and 3,023 ringgit. The contract fell 3.9 percent in the three sessions before today.

Output declined 14.8 percent to 1.6 million tons in November from a month earlier after the peak-harvest season ended, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board said today. Stockpiles declined 1.5 percent to 2.1 million tons, while exports shrank 9.9 percent to 1.7 million tons, the board said.

Palm oil imports by India, the largest buyer, will be lower this month because of the winter season and increased supply of edible oils from domestic oilseed crushing, Prasoon Mathur, senior analyst with Religare Commodities Ltd., said by phone from New Delhi.

Malaysia’s palm oil exports fell 4.6 percent to 436,633 tons in the first 10 days of December compared with the previous month, Societe Generale de Surveillance said today. Shipments fell 5.1 percent to 443,699 tons, Intertek said yesterday.

Hot weather may redevelop in Argentina’s soybean, corn and wheat areas over the weekend and no significant rain is expected through Dec. 18, Telvent DTN Inc. said in a forecast yesterday. In Brazil, soybean crops are still vulnerable to damage from dryness later in the month and in January, it said.

Weather Forecasts

“Dry weather will be a concern for the soybean crop, especially in Brazil,” Chung Yang Ker, an analyst at Phillip Futures Pte., said by phone from Singapore. “Regional weather concerns including forecasts of floods in Indonesia’s growing regions in December will also provide support to palm oil.”

January-delivery soybeans rose as much as 0.5 percent to $11.175 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade before trading at $11.1225 at 3:51 p.m. in Mumbai, while soybean oil for March delivery gained as much as 0.5 percent to 49.97 cents a pound.

Palm oil for delivery in May closed 0.5 percent lower at 7,824 yuan ($1,229) per ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange and soybean oil for September delivery ended little changed at 8,730 yuan.

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