* Palm follows steep declines in other vegetable oil markets
* Malaysia Feb. 1-25 exports up 4.6 pct from month ago -ITS
* Feb. 1-25 exports up 2.7 pct from Jan. 1-25 -SGS
(Updates prices, adds details)
By Chew Yee Kiat
SINGAPORE, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures
slid to their lowest in nearly a month on Monday, tracking steep
falls in other vegetable oil markets, although
better-than-expected export numbers helped rein in losses.
The most active U.S. soyoil contract for May delivery
was down 0.7 percent in late Asian trade after losing almost 2
percent on Friday, weighed down by weak soybean prices due to
improved prospects for South American supply.
Investors were also reacting to falls in China's most active
September soyoil contract, which tumbled more than 3
percent to its lowest since mid-November, hurt by concerns over
demand growth after a slip in the country's manufacturing output
index. By 1011 GMT prices had slid by 3.2 percent.
"The market is tracking the U.S. and Dalian soybean oil
markets. All these are external factors," said a trader with a
foreign commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.
The benchmark May contract on the Bursa Malaysia
Derivatives Exchange had eased 2.5 percent to 2,471 ringgit
($797) per tonne by Monday's close, but were off an earlier low
of 2,461 ringgit, the lowest level since Jan. 29.
Total traded volume stood at 37,569 lots of 25 tonnes each,
higher than the usual 25,000 lots, as traders rushed to
Technicals showed Malaysian palm oil is expected to revisit
its Dec. 13, 2012 low of 2,217 ringgit per tonne over the next
four weeks, as a long-term downtrend has resumed, said Reuters
market analyst Wang Tao.
Investor sentiment picked up, however, after cargo surveyor
Intertek Testing Services reported a 4.6 percent increase in
Malaysian palm oil exports to 1,153,852 tonnes for the Feb. 1-25
period from a month ago.
Another cargo surveyor, Societe Generale de Surveillance,
reported exports in the same period picked up 2.7 percent,
buoyed by higher shipments to Europe and India.
"The numbers were slightly better than expected and will
probably stay at this pace towards the end of the month on a
last-minute push to ship out tax-free crude palm oil," said a
dealer with a foreign commodities brokerage in Malaysia.
Malaysia, the world's No.2 producer of the edible oil, will
raise February's zero percent export tax to 4.5 percent in March
after keeping it unchanged for two months.
Traders are counting on improving palm oil exports and
seasonally slowing output in the world's No. 2 producer of the
edible oil to help ease stockpiles that stood at 2.58 million
tonnes in January.
In other markets, Brent crude wiped out early losses to
trade above $114 per barrel on Monday as a firmer euro supported
prices, although worries that a retreat in China's manufacturing
activity would dent demand from the world's top energy consumer
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1004 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL MAR3 2422 -56.00 2409 2455 735
MY PALM OIL APR3 2448 -61.00 2438 2458 4792
MY PALM OIL MAY3 2471 -63.00 2461 2482 18869
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3 6780 -268.00 6768 6960 799048
CHINA SOYOIL SEP3 8422 -276.00 8370 8580 903508
CBOT SOY OIL MAY3 50.44 -0.29 50.16 50.75 13392
NYMEX CRUDE APR3 93.64 +0.51 92.96 93.74 16561
Palm oil prices in Malaysian ringgit per tonne
CBOT soy oil in U.S. cents per pound
Dalian soy oil and RBD palm olein in Chinese yuan per tonne
Crude in U.S. dollars per barrel
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)