Palm Swings as Investors Weigh Malaysia Output, Demand Concerns

Palm oil was little changed as investors weighed speculation that production in Malaysia was lower-than-expected last month, against concern the rally into a bull market will hurt demand.

The contract for January delivery closed at 2,544 ringgit ($799) a metric ton from 2,547 yesterday on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives after swinging between gains and losses of at least 0.6 percent. Futures retreated 3.1 percent this week through yesterday after rallying into a bull market. Palm for physical delivery in November was at 2,560 ringgit, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Production in Malaysia, the second-biggest supplier, probably fell in October from a month earlier, while exports were little changed and reserves expanded to the highest level since April, showed a Bloomberg survey published yesterday. Output is typically highest from July to October. The Malaysian Palm Oil Board is set to release the data on Nov. 11.

“Investors are cautious and reluctant to take any major directional call ahead of the MPOB data,” said Isha Trivedi, an analyst at PhillipCapital India Pvt. in Mumbai.

Production at Wilmar International Ltd., the largest palm oil trader, fell 8 percent to 473,833 tons in the third quarter, the Singapore-based company said in a statement today. Total output of fresh fruit bunches was down 10 percent, it said.

Futures, heading for the first annual gain in three years, advanced to 2,628 ringgit on Nov. 1, the highest close since September 2012 and 21 percent more than the 2,167 settlement on July 29, meeting the common definition of a bull market.

Soybean oil for December delivery lost 0.2 percent to 41.05 cents a pound on the Chicago Board of Trade, while soybeans for delivery in January rose 0.3 percent to $12.585 a bushel.

Refined palm oil for May delivery dropped 0.2 percent to close at 6,260 yuan ($1,028) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange and soybean oil ended at 7,202 yuan from 7,206 yuan yesterday.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.