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Palm Oil Rises to Four-Week High on Improved Malaysian Shipments

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

The contract for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to 2,430 ringgit ($792) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the highest settlement price for the most-active contract since Nov. 26. Futures gained 5.9 percent last week and have lost 23 percent this year.

Exports from Malaysia, the largest shipper after Indonesia, climbed 3 percent to 1.29 million tons in the first 25 days of December from the same period a month ago, Societe Generale de Surveillance said in an e-mailed statement 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 said in an e-mailed report.

While the food-safety measures “may actually slow down exports to China early next year,” an improvement in Malaysian exports is a “supportive” factor, said Ryan Long, vice president of futures and options at OSK Investment Bank Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur.

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, 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 6,870 yuan ($1,101) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for May lost 0.4 percent to close at 8,572 yuan a ton.

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