KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures fell more than 1% by Friday's close, having touched a five-month low, as concern over the U.S.-China trade conflict outweighed data showing easing stockpiles and production.
The Benchmark palm oil contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange settled 1.1% lower on Friday evening at 1,983 ringgit ($477.03). It earlier fell to 1,970 ringgit, its weakest since Nov. 30.
Palm prices are also down 1.3% for the week in a third straight weekly decline.
"The market is still down on the U.S.-China trade war concerns despite the Malaysian Palm Oil Board data," said one Kuala Lumpur futures trader, referring to industry regulator data released earlier in the day.
The data showed that April stock levels fell 6.6% to a sixth-month low of 2.73 million tonnes while output declined to 1.65 million tonnes, down 1.4% from March. Exports rose 2% to 1.65 million tonnes.
A Reuters survey had forecast palm oil's end-April stockpiles to fall 5% to 2.77 million tonnes, while production was forecast to ease by 1.9% to 1.64 million tonnes. Exports were expected to firm by 1.6% to 1.64 million tonnes.
Meanwhile, Malaysian palm oil exports for May 1-10 rose by between 6.4% and 14.4% from the same period in April, according to data on Friday from cargo surveyors Intertek Testing Services, Amspec Agri Malaysia and Societe Generale de Surveillance.
The United States escalated its tariff war with China on Friday by increasing levies to 25% for $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in the midst of last-ditch talks to rescue a trade deal.
In related oils, the Chicago July soybean oil contract was last up 0.2% on Friday, with the May soyoil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange down 1.1%.
The Dalian May palm oil contract slipped by 0.1%.
Palm oil prices are affected by movements in soyoil, with which it competes for global market share. - Reuters