• Palm oil fell 5.4pc last week on lower exports to the vegetable oil’s two largest markets, India and China.
  • Malaysia palm oil exports over Feb. 1-15 dropped 6.7pc-10pc from a month before, according to cargo surveyors.
  • Palm oil was also supported by bargain hunting and gains in Dalian vegetable oils.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Monday as the latest data showed a slower rate of decline in exports so far in February, easing concerns about falling demand in No. 2 buyer China in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

The benchmark palm oil contract, for May delivery, on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 23 ringgit, or 0.88pc, at 2,650 ringgit ($640.41) by the midday break.

Palm oil fell 5.4pc last week on lower exports to the vegetable oil’s two largest markets, India and China.

Prices of the commodity have come under pressure since India, the world’s top palm oil buyer, last month imposed restrictions on imports of refined palm oil from Malaysia, disrupting global edible oil trade flows.

The virus outbreak in China, which has killed more than 1,700 people there, has exacerbated demand worries.

However, market sentiment has improved on expectations that the outbreak can be contained, a Kuala Lumpur-based trader said. “The market is hopeful that Chinese buying may come in,” he said.

China’s central bank on Monday lowered one of its key interest rates and injected more liquidity into the system to support an economy jolted by the epidemic.

Malaysia palm oil exports over Feb. 1-15 dropped 6.7pc-10pc from a month before, according to cargo surveyors. This is better than the 20pc-29.4pc drop over the Feb. 1-10 period.

Palm oil was also supported by bargain hunting and gains in Dalian vegetable oils, the trader said.

Dalian’s most-active soyoil contract traded up 0.3pc, while its palm oil contract gained 1.1pc. The Chicago Board of Trade was closed for a public holiday.

Palm oil is affected by price movements in related oils as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.

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