Palm Advances to Six-Week High on Rising Demand Before Ramadan

Palm oil climbed to the highest level in six weeks on speculation that an increase in demand before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan may cut stockpiles in Malaysia, the second-largest producer.

The contract for August delivery rose 1 percent to 2,359 ringgit ($780) a metric ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives, the highest price at close for most-active futures since April 10. Prices are heading for the first monthly gain in four.

The world’s most used edible oil may advance next month as demand grows ahead of Ramadan, before resuming a decline, Dorab Mistry, director at Godrej International Ltd., said yesterday. Purchases from the Middle East and South Asia usually climb before Ramadan, which begins in July this year, when communal meals boost total consumption.

“The strong demand will be from Ramadan stock-up and also strong demand from the Northern Hemisphere because of warmer weather,” said Alan Lim Seong Chun, an analyst at Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd., referring to Europe and the U.S. where demand drops in winter as palm oil clouds in cooler temperatures. “Inventory will still decline in May.”

Stockpiles may drop for a fifth month to 1.84 million tons in May as demand will outpace supply, said Lim. Reserves declined 11 percent to 1.93 million tons last month, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

Refined palm oil for September delivery advanced 0.9 percent to close at 6,104 yuan ($995) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, while soybean oil climbed 1.3 percent to end at 7,536 yuan. On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybeans for July delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $14.745 a bushel and soybean oil for the same month rose 0.2 percent to 49.56 cents a pound.

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