Palm Oil Posts Fourth Quarterly Loss in Worst Streak Since ’99

Palm oil declined, capping a fourth quarterly loss in the worst run since 1999, on concern that demand will slow as Europe’s debt crisis lingers, boosting inventories in producing nations.

The contract for delivery in June fell 1.4 percent to 2,378 ringgit ($769) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the lowest settlement level for the most-active price since March 14. Futures declined 2.5 percent since the beginning of the year, the fourth straight quarterly loss in the worst streak since 1999.

Shipments to European Union countries by Malaysia tumbled 18 percent in the first 25 days of March to 155,870 tons from a month earlier, according to Societe Generale de Surveillance. Total exports fell 7 percent to 1.1 million tons, it said March 25. Europe is the largest buyer of palm after India and China, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The region’s economy will contract for a second straight year in 2013, according to the median of analysts’ forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

“Driving prices down is an expectation that exports from Malaysia will continue to decline,” said Arhnue Tan, vice president at Alliance Research Sdn. “That may lead to high inventory levels.”

Palm oil has tumbled 31 percent over the past year as supplies from Indonesia and Malaysia, the largest producers, expanded to a record and demand fell in Europe. Stockpiles in Malaysia reached an all-time high in December.

Refined palm oil for September delivery fell 0.8 percent to close at 6,246 yuan ($1,006) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for delivery in the same month lost 1.3 percent to end at 7,932 yuan a ton.

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