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MALAYSIA : Palm oil stretched losses over four days to 13%, retreating from record highs, as petroleum prices plunge and traders keep a close watch on whether top grower Indonesia issues more export permits.

Futures for May delivery fell as much as 5.7% to RM5,996 a tonne, before closing at RM6,128.

Extended profit-taking following the sell-off on Monday, coupled with crude oil dropping below the psychological US$100 (RM420) level, is weighing on cooking oil, said Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, head of trading and hedging strategies at Kaleesuwari Intercontinental.

Talk of Indonesia approving more export permits and expectations of rising Malaysian output are also pressuring prices, Thiagarajan, said, adding traders will be watching surveyor export figures for Malaysia to have a clearer picture on inventories.

Exports from the second-biggest grower rose 16% during March 1-15 from the previous month, a slightly slower pace than the 18% increase during the first 10 days of March, data from Intertek Testing Services showed yesterday.

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