Palm Oil Drops as Malaysian Stockpiles Hit Record, Exports Slump

Palm oil fell to the lowest level in three weeks after data showed stockpiles in Malaysia, the second-largest producer, gained to a record in December, while exports extended a fall this year even as a zero-rate tax began.

The contract for March delivery lost 1.2 percent to 2,383 ringgit ($787) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the lowest price at close for the most-active contract since Dec. 20. Prices have slumped 26 percent over the past year as reserves expanded.

Stockpiles in Malaysia rose 2.4 percent to 2.63 million tons in December, compared with a revised 2.57 million tons a month earlier, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board said. Exports fell 25 percent to 373,462 tons in the first 10 days of January, Intertek said. Shipments retreated 34 percent to 343,081 tons in the same period, according to surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance. Malaysia changed its export-tax structure from Jan. 1 to help cut the reserves, with a zero rate this month.

“The numbers came in higher than the consensus, so this is a knee-jerk reaction to that,” James Ratnam, an analyst at TA Securities Holdings Bhd., said by phone in Kuala Lumpur.

Palm oil for May lost 1.2 percent to close at 6,726 yuan ($1,081) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for May fell 0.4 percent to end at 8,562 yuan a ton.

Soybeans for March delivery declined 0.2 percent to $13.8275 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean oil for delivery in March was little changed at 49.65 cents a pound.

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