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Palm Oil Ends Near Two-Week High as Dry Weather Hurts Soybeans

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Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Palm oil ended near the highest level in two weeks as dry weather in parts of Argentina dims the prospect for global supply of the oilseed crushed to make soybean oil and animal feed.

The contract for delivery in May closed at 2,565 ringgit ($829) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange from 2,566 ringgit yesterday, the highest price at close for the most-active contract since Feb. 4.

Soybean production in Argentina, the world’s largest shipper of the edible oil crushed from the oilseed, will probably reach 50 million tons this marketing year, lower than the 52 million tons predicted last month as dry weather hurt crops, according to an Oil World report yesterday. That will trim the total output of seven oilseeds, including soybeans and palm kernel, by 1.4 million tons to 455.9 million tons from an estimate made a month earlier, it said.

“The price action today has more to do with soybeans having a very strong rally overnight,” Victor Thianpiriya, an agricultural analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said by phone from Singapore. “Concerns over Argentina’s soybean outlook” are pushing prices higher, he said.

Soybeans for May delivery climbed as much as 0.9 percent to $14.70 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest price since Feb. 8. Futures advanced 3 percent yesterday.

Soybean oil for May delivery traded little changed at 52.93 cents a pound in Chicago after rallying 1.7 percent yesterday. The cooking oil’s premium to palm oil was at $338.61 a ton today. The two are the most consumed edible oils in the world used in food and fuel.

Palm oil exports from Malaysia rose 0.6 percent to 835,612 tons in first 20 days of February from 830,830 tons in the same period a month earlier, surveyor Intertek said in an e-mailed statement. Shipments surged 18 percent to 673,555 tons in the first 15 days of the month, it said Feb. 15.

Refined palm oil for delivery in September ended little changed at 7,124 yuan ($1,142) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for delivery in the same month climbed 0.5 percent to close at 8,754 yuan a ton.

To contact the reporters on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net; 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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