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Palm Oil Rallies as U.S. Data Boosts Commodity Demand Prospects

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Palm oil climbed to the highest level in more than three weeks after data signaled a recovery in the U.S. economy, boosting prospects for cooking oil demand.

The contract for March delivery climbed 3.8 percent to 2,409 ringgit ($787) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the highest price for the most-active contract since Nov. 27. Futures gained 5.9 percent this week, paring losses to 24 percent this year.

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, more than previously reported, according to Commerce Department figures released yesterday. Sales of previously owned U.S. homes climbed to a three-year high in November, reinforcing forecasts that the industry is set to add to annual economic growth for the first time since 2005.

“Commodities may receive a boost as the global sentiment may improve because of the positive economic data from the U.S.,” Chowda Reddy, an analyst at JRG Wealth Management Ltd., said by phone from the Indian city of Hyderabad.

Futures also gained as some investors reversed bets on declining prices ahead of year-end holidays, Paramalingam Supramaniam, director at Pelindung Bestari Sdn. Bhd., said by phone from Kuala Lumpur.

Soybeans for March delivery climbed 1.4 percent to $14.2175 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean oil for delivery in March advanced 1.9 percent to 49.23 cents a pound.

Palm oil for May delivery gained 1.8 percent to end at 6,858 yuan ($1,101) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the biggest gain since Oct. 19. Soybean oil for May climbed 0.5 percent to close at 8,630 yuan a ton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Swansy Afonso in Mumbai at safonso2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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