KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures hit a near six-month low in early trade on Tuesday, tracking rival soyoil on the Chicago Board of Trade which fell nearly 1 percent overnight, and ahead of the release of official output and export data next week.
The benchmark palm oil contract for June delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was down 0.7 percent at 2,644 ringgit ($597.18) a tonne at the midday break.
It earlier hit 2,643 ringgit, the weakest since Oct. 14, a level it touched on Monday as well.
Traded volumes stood at 22,839 lots of 25 tonnes each at noon.
"The market fell tracking soyoil, while waiting for new leads," said a futures trader in Kuala Lumpur.
Upcoming inventory data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) will be impacted by local consumption, as production and exports are "expected to offset each other," the trader added
Data from official industry regulator MPOB is forecast to show rising production and exports, and is scheduled for release on April 10.
Output of the tropical oil at the world's second largest producer could rise in March, in line with the seasonal trend, but production growth is expected to be small, according to traders.
In February, production declined 1.4 percent on-month, while exports saw a 14 percent drop.
Palm oil shipments for the full month of March saw a near 7 percent gain from a month ago, cargo surveyor data showed last week.
Palm oil seems to have found a support at 2,638 ringgit per tonne, and it may continue to hover above this level or bounce towards a range of 2,685-2,715 ringgit, said Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.
Palm oil is also impacted by the price movements of related edible oils, including soyoil, as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.
On Tuesday, CBOT soybean oil reversed losses from the previous session to trade up 0.2 percent. China's Dalian Commodity Exchange is closed for a national holiday.