Analysts said plantation stocks were boosted by a more bullish figures released by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) this week, a milder El Nino weather impact which is positive for production, as well as an indicated stronger demand of palm oil by China and India.
IOI Corp, Sime Darby, Kuala Lumpur Kepong and PPB Group were top gainers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI yesterday, pushing the gauge to 1,188.57, its highest in more than a year. IOI added 1.9 per cent to RM5.35; Sime Darby gained 1.2 per cent to RM8.42; Kuala Lumpur Kepong jumped 2.8 per cent to RM13.98; while PPB Group was up 0.9 per cent to RM15.20.
India, the world's second largest vegetable oil buyer after China, may import more palm oil as the weakest rain in five years threatens to damage oilseed crops and worsen a shortage of the commodity. The country relies on overseas purchases to meet more than half its cooking oil needs, with palm oil accounting for 80 per cent of the total. MPOB chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad yesterday said prices of the commodity may sustain at the current level of between RM2,400 and RM2,500 a tonne until the year-end, so long as the El-Nino phenomenon does not worsen.
The benchmark three-month crude palm oil futures closed at RM2,441 at Friday's close.