Malaysian palm oil futures gained on Friday, boosted by concerns that production would be hit by year-end monsoon and expectations of higher imports by China. The year-end monsoon season in palm producing Southeast Asian countries brings heavy rains and floods, curbing supplies and lending support to prices. The benchmark palm oil contract for March on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange had gained 0.7 percent to 2,402 ringgit ($560.30) a tonne by the end of the morning session. For the week, it was down 2.3 percent, heading for its first weekly drop in five.
Traded volume stood at 36,436 lots of 25 tonnes each at the end of the trading day on Friday. “Exports should improve as we move towards better demand which will be coming from China due to the Chinese New Year festival,” said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader. Shipments from Malaysia, the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, are seen improving after falling in the first half of December with separate surveying companies reporting 34-36 percent plunge from a month earlier. In competing vegetable oil markets, the US January soyoil contract rose 1 percent, while the May soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was down 0.2 percent.