Palm Oil Futures Gain as Decline to Three Month Low Spurs Buying

Palm oil advanced for the first time in four days as the lowest price at close this year stoked demand among importers.

The contract for delivery in June climbed 1.9 percent to 2,382 ringgit ($772) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the steepest gain at close since March 15. Futures yesterday ended at the lowest level since Dec. 20. Prices fell 2.5 percent in the first quarter, the fourth quarterly loss in the worst streak since 1999.

“We’re actually near the technical support level of 2,340 ringgit, and around this level we may see some bargain hunting,” Ryan Long, vice president of futures and options at OSK Investment Bank Bhd., said from Kuala Lumpur. Gains may be capped as production is expected to improve this month, he said.

Exports from Malaysia rose 2.8 percent to 1.36 million tons in March from a month ago, surveyor Intertek said yesterday. Shipments rose 5.5 percent to 1.37 million tons, Societe Generale de Surveillance said. India, the world’s largest palm oil importer, today cut the benchmark import price of crude palm oil to $829 a ton from $838 set on March 15, according to a finance ministry statement.

Soybean oil for May delivery climbed 0.3 percent to 50.21 cents a pound on the Chicago Board of Trade, while soybeans for May gained 0.7 percent to $14.0075 a bushel.

Refined palm oil for September delivery gained 1.8 percent to close at 6,228 yuan ($1,004) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil for delivery in the same month rose 0.9 percent to end at 7,876 yuan a ton.

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