Crude palm oil futures on Malaysia's derivatives exchange ended higher Friday, underpinned by short covering ahead of the weekend and likely higher exports.
The benchmark January contract at Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended 0.2% higher at 2,501 ringgit a metric ton after moving in a MYR2,492-MYR2,524 range.
Traders expect palm oil exports during the Oct. 1-20 period to rise 14%-18% on month to 1.06 million tons, ahead of demand reports by cargo surveyors Intertek Agri Services and SGS (Malaysia) Bhd. Saturday and Monday, respectively.
Intertek put Sept. 1-20 palm oil exports at 928,110 tons while SGS put exports at 900,450 tons.
Shipments of palm oil could rise in the next few weeks amid increased demand from India and as exporters with overseas refineries ship out more palm oil following a decision by the Malaysian government to revise the current CPO export tax of 23% to a graduated basis and abolish duty-free CPO export quotas.
Rabobank, however, said in a note that the expected rise in exports may not be enough to draw down palm oil stockpiles, which had risen to an all-time high of 2.48 million tons in the world's No. 2 CPO producer.
The bank lowered its CPO price forecast for the October-December period to MYR2,600/ton from a previous forecast of MYR2,800/ton.
Open interest on the BMD was 148,945 lots versus 151,863 lots Thursday. One lot is equivalent to 25 tons.
A total of 27,875 lots of CPO were traded versus 34,274 lots Thursday.
Ending BMD CPO futures prices in MYR/ton: Month Close Previous Change High Low Nov'12 2,404 2,396 +8 2,420 2,374 Dec'12 2,475 2,456 +19 2,489 2,452 Jan'13 2,501 2,496 +5 2,524 2,492 Feb'13 2,540 2,530 +10 2,554 2,526