* Malaysia's May 1-20 exports down 6.6 pct -SGS
* ITS pegs drop in exports at 9.4 pct
* Prices caught in tight range between 2,321 and 2,348
* Palm oil signals mixed -technicals
By Chew Yee Kiat
SINGAPORE, May 21 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures
ended flat on Tuesday, as hopes for a recovery in demand ahead
of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan offset lower exports in the
first 20 days of May.
Lacklustre exports data dragged prices lower in the morning
session, but expectations that buyers would stock up ahead of
Ramadan that starts early in July, when communal feasting
typically drives up consumption, helped stem the drop.
"Classically, export demand from the Middle East and South
Asia usually surges before the Muslim fasting month," said
Singapore-based Phillip Futures in a note to clients.
"The bull trend in palm oil has not been established yet as
technically, the main trend in crude palm oil remained down. The
immediate first hurdle to clear would be the 2,350 ringgit
level," the broker added.
At market close, the benchmark August contract on
the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was unchanged at 2,335
($774) ringgit per tonne. Prices touched a high of 2,352 ringgit
on Monday, a level last seen on April 12.
Total traded volumes stood at 37,995 lots of 25 tonnes each,
slightly higher than the average 35,000 lots.
Technicals showed mixed signals for palm oil as it is not
clear if a rebound from the May 6 low of 2,230 ringgit has
completed, Reuters market analyst Wang Tao said.
The news from the fundamental side was also mixed.
Malaysian palm oil stocks fell to 1.93 million tonnes in
April, crossing below the psychological 2-million-tonne mark for
the first time since last July, but exports over May 1-20
dropped by as much as 9.4 percent from a month ago as demand
from major buyers China and India eased.
But traders said stocks could edge lower in May as
production remains stagnant and exports pick up.
In other markets, Brent oil fell towards $104 per barrel on
concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve might scale back its
quantitative easing programme, which could damage fragile
In vegetable oil markets, U.S. soyoil for July delivery
fell 0.3 percent in late Asian trade. The most-active
September soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodities
Exchange fell 0.5 percent.
Palm, soy and crude oil prices at 1011 GMT
Contract Month Last Change Low High Volume
MY PALM OIL JUN3 2315 -15.00 2314 2334 452
MY PALM OIL JUL3 2340 -4.00 2332 2356 9607
MY PALM OIL AUG3 2335 +0.00 2321 2348 18365
CHINA PALM OLEIN SEP3 6048 -6.00 6000 6070 462942
CHINA SOYOIL SEP3 7442 -40.00 7394 7490 774942
CBOT SOY OIL JUL3 49.06 -0.14 48.95 49.30 4402
NYMEX CRUDE JUN3 96.47 -0.24 96.41 96.97 2562
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 Himani Sarkar)