Friday, December 16, 2011

VEGOILS-Palm oil rises but Euro zone concerns remain

JAKARTA (Dec 16): Malaysian crude palm oil futures rose more than 1 percent on Friday, rebounding from the previous day's six-week lows on rising equity markets, traders said, although they expected further losses on euro zone debt worries.

Asian shares rose and the euro edged higher on Friday, as signs of strength in the U.S. economy temporarily broke through gloom over the European debt crisis that had driven a sell-off in riskier assets over the past three days.

U.S. stocks rose modestly on Thursday, after a fall in U.S. unemployment, a stronger-than-expected rise in regional factory activity and better-than-forecast results from FedEx Corp painted an improving picture of the economy.

By midday, the benchmark March palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange added 1.1 percent to 3,003 Malaysian ringgit ($940). "Weekend covering," said a Kuala Lumpur-based palm trader said about Friday's gains.

"Positive regional equity markets and short-term technicals showing signs of recovery."

Earlier this week, prices touched a six-week low of 2,971 ringgit and are down almost 3 percent for the week. T

raded volumes for the February palm contract were at 3,882 lots of 25 tonnes each, compared with a three-week high at 16,016 on Thursday. Investors said the monsoon season in top Southeast Asian countires was also offering some support, with expectations of declining output.

Among comparable oils, Chicago soybeans rose around half a percent on Friday, gaining for a second straight day on concerns over dry weather in South America, which is likely to boost demand for U.S. beans.

China's most active Sept 2012 soybean oil contract <0#DBY:> also traded in positive territory. Brent crude futures rose above $104 on worries about supply disruption after the U.S. Congress approved a bill imposing sanctions on Iran's central bank, limiting buyers' ability to pay for the oil they buy from the Islamic Republic.

But the backdrop of European debt worries refused to go away. "The market seems to be driven by the Europe debacle, rather than fundamentals," said a second Kuala Lumpur trader. "With funds pulling back from global commodity exposure, brace yourself for more volatility and price swings."- Reuters

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