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Palm Oil Declines as Lower Exports Signal Weaker Winter Demand

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Palm oil dropped, extending a second annual loss and snapping a five-day rising streak, as declining exports from Malaysia signaled weaker demand.

The contract for March delivery lost 2.3 percent to close at 2,440 ringgit ($798) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. Futures have lost 23 percent this year as stockpiles in Malaysia climbed to an all-time high.

Exports fell 5.7 percent to 1.57 million tons in December from 1.66 million tons a month earlier, surveyor Intertek said today. Shipments dropped 7.9 percent to 1.52 million tons in the same period, estimated Societe Generale de Surveillance. Exports are generally lower during the winter months as the tropical oil clouds in cooler temperatures. Malaysia is the largest producer after Indonesia.

“This signals weak demand” from the Northern Hemisphere, Alan Lim Seong Chun, an analyst at Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd., said by phone in Kuala Lumpur, referring to the export figure.

Soybeans for March delivery dropped 1.1 percent to $14.0225 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean oil for delivery in March fell 1.1 percent to 48.91 cents a pound.

Palm oil for May delivery retreated 0.6 percent to close at 6,922 yuan ($1,111) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for May lost 0.4 percent to end at 8,612 yuan a ton.

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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