At midday, CPO for third month futures fell RM47 to RM3,480. KUALA LUMPUR: Palm oil futures are headed for their steepest weekly drop in 11 months on concerns that demand from key buyers will dissipate as Malaysia reported a slump in export data. Prices in Kuala Lumpur are down 9.1% so far this week, the most since the week ending Feb. 28. Palm, used in everything from cookies to cosmetics and biofuel, plummeted 4.5% on Thursday and briefly climbed early Friday, before reversing gains to stretch losses to a fifth straight day. At midday, CPO for third month futures fell RM47 to RM3,480. Futures initially bounced back alongside the rebound in overnight Chicago soybean oil and “roaring” crude oil futures, but succumbed to weak export demand which is denting sentiment, according to Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, head of trading and hedging strategies at Kaleesuwari Intercontinental. Malaysia’s palm oil exports tumbled 42% to 426,276 tons in the first half of January, compared to a month ago, according to AmSpec Agri. That’s a steeper decline from the 35% drop in the Jan. 1-10 period. Still, palm oil’s underlying bullish trend remains undisturbed, Thiagarajan said. The tropical oil is set to have its best annual showing in a decade even as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, with futures likely to average 3,200 ringgit a ton in 2021 from 2,700 ringgit last year, according to a Bloomberg survey. - Bloomberg
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