Published: Tuesday November 20, 2012 MYT 2:25:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday November 20, 2012 MYT 2:30:30 PM

Palm oil slips off 2-week high on slowing exports

SINGAPORE: Malaysian palm oil futures edged lower on Tuesday, as investors booked profits after the contract hit a two-week high earlier in the day and as export demand continued to show signs of slowing.

The world's No.2 palm producer exported 1.02 million tonnes of palm products for Nov. 1-20, down 3.3 percent from 1.06 million tonnes a month ago, cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services said on Tuesday.

Market players were hoping for higher exports to ease record stocks, which hit 2.51 million tonnes in October. Another cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance will release its export data later in the day. "Traders were pretty hopeful for positive export data, although this decline is not really that significant," said Ker Chung Yang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

"Market participants are also anxious as they wait for the outcome of the European financial meeting," he added, referring to a gathering later on Tuesday where euro zone finance ministers are expected to give a tentative go-ahead for the disbursement of 44 billion euros in emergency loans to Greece.

By the midday break, the benchmark February contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange had lost 0.3 percent to 2,452 ringgit ($801) per tonne. Prices earlier touched 2,485 ringgit, the highest since Nov. 2.

Total traded volumes stood at 15,015 lots of 25 tonnes each, higher than the usual 12,500 lots.

Technicals showed a bullish palm oil target of 2,588 ringgit had been aborted, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.

Singapore commodities firm Olam International Ltd asked for its shares to be halted from trading on Tuesday, after media reports quoted short-seller Muddy Waters' Carson Block as saying he was betting against the company after questioning its accounting practices.

The company defended itself against Muddy Waters, saying the short-seller had made "baseless and unsubstantiated assertions". In related markets, Brent crude held steady above $111 a barrel on Tuesday, less than a dollar off a one-month top hit in the previous session, on hopes a U.S. budget crisis will be averted and on supply worries triggered by tension in the Middle East.

In other vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for December delivery edged 0.2 percent lower in early Asian trade.

The most active May 2013 soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange had gained 0.3 percent by the midday break. -Reuters

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