VEGOILS-Palm oil firms as Malaysia movement curbs raise supply concerns

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures firmed on Tuesday over supply concerns after the country ordered two weeks of restricted movement that requires most businesses to shut down in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark palm oil contract for June delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange gained 2 ringgit, or 0.09%, to 2,222 ringgit ($514.35) by 0315 GMT.

Palm had fallen 2.8% in the previous session and has been trading at October levels following a three-month slump pressured by demand concerns as the virus escalated globally.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Malaysia, the second-largest palm producer, will shut its borders to travellers, restrict internal movement, close schools and universities, and order most businesses to shut from March 18-31 after its number of coronavirus cases climbed to the highest in Southeast Asia.

* Malaysia's palm oil plantations must be allowed to operate during the two weeks of restricted movements as it would be damaging to the industry if they were to shut down, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association told Reuters on Tuesday.

* Malaysian palm oil exports for March 1-15 fell between 1.8% and 9.6% from the month before, according to cargo surveyors.

* Dalian's most-active soyoil contract fell 1.6%, and its palm oil contract dropped 0.8%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade rose 2%.

* Palm oil is affected by price movements in related oils as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.

* Palm oil may test a support at 2,184 ringgit per tonne, a break below which could cause a fall to 2,100 ringgit, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

MARKET NEWS

* Most Asian shares fell on Tuesday a day after Wall Street's historic market rout, with fleeting initial gains evaporating as the coronavirus remained a major risk to economic growth.


DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0930 UK Claimant Count Unem Chng Feb

0930 UK ILO Unemployment Rate Jan

1000 Germany ZEW Economic Sentiment March

1000 Germany ZEW Current Conditions March

1230 US Retails Sales MM Feb

1315 US Industrial Production MM Feb

($1 = 4.3200 ringgit)

(Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)