Palm hits 1-1/2-month top on India demand hopes
India is expected to import more palm oil this year due to a domestic deficit in vegetable oil stockpiles, helping offset a drop in demand for the tropical oil from the biofuel sector, leading industry analyst James Fry said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the Palm and Lauric Oils Price Outlook Conference & Exhibition (POC) in Kuala Lumpur.
"There's positive talk at the POC providing support to palm prices today such as Fry's comments about Indian imports," said a trader with a local commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.
Other industry sources, also attending the meet, said India's edible oil imports are expected to jump to a record high of 12.5-13 million tonnes this year, including a 1 million tonne rise in palm arrivals to 9 million tonnes.
The benchmark palm contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange reversed earlier losses to touch an intraday high of 2,382 ringgit (\$657) per tonne, its highest since Jan. 15. Palm closed up 0.2 percent at 2,378 ringgit.
Traded volume stood at 42,827 lots of 25 tonnes each, above the usual 35,000 lots.
Gains were, however, capped by weakness in competing vegetable oil markets.
The most active May soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange lost 0.35 percent, while the US soyoil contract for March edged down 0.37 percent.
In other markets, oil prices firmed, tracking stronger global equity markets and as the US rig count continued to fall, but analysts warned the market remained oversupplied.