Palm Oil Climbs for Fourth Day to One-Week High on Weak Ringgit

Dec 24, 2013 5:23 am ET

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Palm oil advanced for a fourth day to the highest level in more than a week as a weaker Malaysian currency boosted the outlook for exports.

The contract for March delivery gained 0.2 percent to 2,622 ringgit ($796) a metric ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives, the highest close for most active futures since Dec. 11. Prices rose 0.9 percent last week, the most since Nov. 22.

The ringgit, which traded near a three-month low against the dollar today, posted a ninth straight weekly drop last week in its longest run of losses in eight years. Palm oil shipments from Malaysia, the world’s second-biggest producer, fell 12 percent to 883,575 tons in the first 20 days of December from a month earlier, Intertek said Dec. 20. That was less than the 20 percent drop in the first 10 days of the month, data showed.

“The ringgit is still weak and it continues to support crude palm oil,” said Alan Lim Seong Chun, an analyst at Kenanga Investment Bank. “The weaker ringgit makes palm oil competitive against soybean oil.”

Palm oil’s discount to soybean oil narrowed to about $75.55 a ton today from $297.44 at the start of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Prices may climb to 3,000 ringgit by March as demand increases for the commodity used in food and biodiesel, Dorab Mistry, director at Godrej International Ltd., said in slides prepared for a conference in Mumbai yesterday.

Soybean oil for March delivery was little changed at 39.55 cents a pound on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans gained 0.2 percent to $13.2175 a bushel.

Refined palm oil for May delivery fell 0.8 percent to 6,010 yuan ($990) a ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. Soybean oil dropped 0.6 percent to 6,940 yuan.

--Editor: James Poole