7/1/05 KUALA LUMPUR (Dow Jones)--Crude palm oil futures on the BursaMalaysia Derivatives ended slightly lower Friday amid late speculativeselling ahead of the release of a key supply and demand report next week.
The benchmark March CPO contract was little changed for almost theentire day before selling interest emerged in the last half hour.
The contract ended at MYR1,350 a metric ton, down MYR6 from Thursdayafter moving between MYR1,347 and MYR1,362.
Traders said there were no fresh trading ideas Friday, but the marketremains under downward pressure due to concerns about abundant supply ofedible oils in the coming months.
"The overall mood is still a bit bearish because we are at the startof a year where we'll be seeing excess supply (of oils) due to the verybig oilseeds crop," a trader said.
"On the palm oil side, most people are looking at 2004 year-end stocksat 1.5 million tons or more."
The government-run Malaysian Palm Oil Board is due to issue middayMonday official supply and demand data for December, including end-2004stocks.
Stocks in Malaysia stood at just over 1.4 million tons in November.
Market players are bracing for the MPOB to report a rise in CPOproduction in December, resulting in an increase in stocks.
Traders said market expectations are generally for December productionto exceed November's by about 4% to 5%.
Besides the MPOB report, cargo surveyors Intertek Agri Services andSGS (Malaysia) Bhd are also due to issue estimates Monday for Malaysianpalm oil exports in the Jan. 1-10 period.
Traders said expectations are for exports during the period to show aslight decline due to seasonal factors.
The Jan. 1-10 number is expected to be around 330,000 tons, down fromabout 360,000 tons in the same period last month, traders said.
Total trading volume was 3,109 lots compared with 1,838 lots Thursday.The bulk of the day's volume was traded during the last hour of the day.
Open interest in CPO futures totaled 27,471 lots at the end ofThursday, up from 27,369 lots the previous day.
The Malaysian cash palm oil market was mostly flat amid sluggishtrading.
RBD palm olein was unchanged to $2.50 lower, with January deliverieslast offered at $385.00/ton.
January CPO, locally delivered, was unchanged at MYR1,370/ton.
Traders said buyers mostly stayed on the sidelines amid expectationsthey could buy later at lower prices.
Among those waiting for lower prices are Iran's Government TradingCorp., which Friday canceled its tender for 10,000 tons of Malaysian palmoil.