Palm Oil Gains a Fourth Day as Exports Seen Rising on Zero Tax

Palm oil advanced for a fourth day to the highest level in more than three months on speculation that Malaysian stockpiles will drop from a record as shipments expand after the second-largest producer set a zero export tax.

The contract for delivery in April gained 0.3 percent 2,564 ringgit ($828) a metric ton, the highest price at close for the most-active contract since Oct. 25, on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange in Kuala Lumpur.

Exports from Malaysia climbed 11 percent to 1.46 million tons in January from a year earlier, according to data from Intertek on Jan. 31. Malaysia has maintained the zero-tariff policy for a second month in February, while Indonesia, the biggest producer, raised taxes on crude exports to 9 percent from 7.5 percent. Palm oil has rallied 15 percent from the close on Dec. 13, the lowest settlement since November 2009.

Investors are “speculating exports are going to be higher this next one or two months,” Benny Lee, a market strategist at Jupiter Securities Sdn., said by phone in Kuala Lumpur. India and China, the biggest users, were expected to buy, he said.

Malaysia’s export tariff may stay at zero for a third month in March and there are signs of stockpiles falling, Plantation Industries & Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok said at a conference in Putrajaya today.

Lower production will also help to draw down inventories, which were estimated at 2.5 million to 2.6 million tons last month, with steeper falls seen in February and March, Sebastian Tobing, an analyst at UBS AG in Indonesia, wrote in a report dated Jan. 31. Inventories reached a record 2.63 million tons at the end of December, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. Output is typically lowest in the first two months of the year.

Refined palm oil for delivery in September fell 0.2 percent to close at 7,190 yuan ($1,154) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for delivery in the same month rose 0.5 percent to 8,896 yuan a ton.

Soybeans for March delivery climbed 1 percent to $14.8875 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, while soybean oil for March delivery gained 0.7 percent to 53.38 cents a pound.

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