Business Recorder (11/02/2020) - Malaysian palm oil futures slipped on Monday, as sharp drop in demand outweighs tight supplies, while mounting worries over the coronavirus epidemic continues to pressure prices.
The benchmark palm oil contract, for April delivery, on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed 2.09% lower at a settlement price of 2,754 ringgit ($664.17) per tonne.
Palm oil rallied 8% last week, the most since November 2016, on expectations of tighter January inventories.
The contract fell on bad exports and the coronavirus scare in Singapore where large trading companies are situated, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader said.
Singapore raised its coronavirus alert level on Friday, as fear mounts over the severity of the outbreak that has killed more than 900 people in China as of Sunday.
Feb. 1-10 exports fell between 20% and 29.4%, cargo surveyors Intertek Testing Services, Societe Generale de Surveillance, and Amspec Agri Malaysia said on Monday.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, exports to second-largest buyer China nearly halved from a year ago to 176,771 tonnes, the lowest since July, according to data from industry regulator the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).
Malaysia's palm oil exports to top buyer India fell 85.3% in January from a year ago to 46,876 tonnes, the lowest in nine years, as traders stopped buying the tropical oil from Kuala Lumpur following informal instructions from New Delhi.
India's arch rival Pakistan, who has said it will help Malaysia offset lost sales to India, made a record purchases of 170,802 tonnes in January compared with 80,690 tonnes a year ago.
Meanwhile, official January data on supply and demand that came out just after the midday close showed that palm oil end-January inventories fell 12.7% to 1.76 million tonnes from the previous month.
Production slumped 12.6% month-on-month to 1.17 million tonnes, according to the report from MPOB.
The contract also tracked losses in rival oil prices. Dalian's most-active soyaoil contract fell 0.45%, while its palm oil contract was down 1%. Soyaoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade edged down 0.7%.
Palm oil is affected by price movements in related oils as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.
Read more at https://www.brecorder.com/2020/02/11/569670/malaysian-palm-oil-falls/