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Palm Oil Drops Most in a Week After India Imposes Import Tax

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Palm oil declined after India implemented higher taxes on crude imports and data showed that shipments this month from Malaysia remained below December’s pace, boosting concern stockpiles will remain near a record.

The contract for delivery in April fell 1.5 percent to 2,445 ringgit ($803) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the biggest decline at close since Jan. 17. Futures climbed 1.9 percent this week.

The benchmark price of crude palm oil was raised to $802 a ton from $447, India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs said yesterday. The rate, on which a 2.5 percent tax is applicable, will be revised every fortnight. The biggest palm oil buyer announced the plan to raise import taxes on Jan. 17.

“There are some concerns that India’s demand may come off” because of the new duty, said Ivy Ng, an analyst at CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. Still, the impact may not be significant as the rate would work out to about $20 a ton, said Ng.

Exports from Malaysia dropped 14 percent to 1.1 million tons in the first 25 days of this month from the same period in December, Intertek said today, while Societe Generale de Surveillance put the decline at 15 percent. Malaysia reduced taxes on crude shipments to zero this month, and extended it to February, to clear stockpiles that climbed to 2.63 million tons last month.

Financial markets in Malaysia were closed yesterday and will be shut again on Jan. 28 for another holiday. Today’s decline snapped four days of gains and came after prices reached 2,488 ringgit on Jan. 23, the highest since Jan. 4.

Refined palm oil for delivery in September closed little changed at 7,024 yuan ($1,129) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for delivery in the same month climbed 0.6 percent to 8,736 yuan a ton.

Soybeans for March delivery were little changed at $14.36 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean oil for March delivery fell 0.2 percent to 52.03 cents a pound.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ranjeetha Pakiam in Kuala Lumpur at rpakiam@bloomberg.net

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

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