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Palm oil drops

July 12, 2018

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures fell over 2 per cent to a two-year low on Wednesday evening, tracking weakness in related oils on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange and as an escalating US-China trade conflict weighed on the market.

The benchmark palm oil contract for September delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was down 2.4pc at 2,204 ringgit ($545.95) a tonne at the close of trade, after hitting its lowest since July 14, 2016 at 2,202 ringgit. The contract posted its sharpest intraday drop in over four months in its second straight session of declines. Trading volumes stood at 41,205 lots of 25 tonnes each.

“The market is down mainly on external factors,” said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader, referring to related edible oils on the US Chicago Board of Trade and Dalian. “Especially so on Dalian as the US-China trade war escalates,” she said.

The United States said on Wednesday it would slap 10pc tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including numerous consumer items, causing a sell-off in Chinese markets and stocks across Asia. China said the action was completely unacceptable, and that Beijing would respond to the latest moves by Washington.

Palm oil prices have declined 5.2pc so far this month, with traders jittery over concerns about the US-China trade dispute and on weak demand. In other related oils, the Chicago December soybean oil contract fell 1.7pc, while the September soybean oil contract on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange was down 1.1pc. The Dalian September palm oil contract declined 1.7pc.

Palm oil prices track the performance of other edible oils as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018

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