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Palm Oil Climbs to Highest in Four Weeks as China Boosts Imports

Palm oil advanced to the highest level in almost four weeks after China reported increased imports, estimates from Malaysia showed rising shipments and analysts including Oil World forecast a rally.

The contract for January delivery advanced 1.5 percent to 2,578 ringgit ($842) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the highest close for the most-active contract since Sept. 27. Futures lost 15 percent since the end of August as palm-oil stockpiles expanded to a record in Malaysia.

“Demand is kicking in again,” James Ratnam, an analyst at TA Securities Holdings Bhd., said by phone in Kuala Lumpur today. “The price has been low for the past one month.”

China, the biggest cooking-oil user, increased imports to 531,564 tons in September from 457,498 tons a month earlier, data showed. In the first 20 days of October, shipments from Malaysia gained 17 percent to 1.05 million tons from the month earlier period, Societe Generale de Surveillance said Oct. 22.

Futures will gain to 2,775 ringgit by year-end, according to the median of 13 analyst and trader estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Prices may rally to 3,300 ringgit by March or April as global vegetable-oil demand outpaces consumption, researcher Oil World said yesterday.

Rising imports by Europe showed biodiesel demand was picking up before the winter months, said TA’s Ratnam. Shipments to the European Union more than doubled to 308,176 tons in the first 20 days of October from September, SGS said.

Soybean oil for December delivery climbed 0.6 percent 51.61 cents a pound on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans for January delivery gained 0.6 percent to $15.6575 a bushel. Palm and soybean oils are substitutes in food and fuel uses.

Palm oil for May delivery gained 1.3 percent to end at 7,330 yuan ($1,173) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for delivery in the same month rose 0.7 percent to close at 9,284 yuan a ton.

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