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Palm oil prices soar to fresh six-month high

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A firm start in external markets helped agricultural commodities off to a flying start for what will be, for many countries, the last trading day before the Easter holiday.

A 3.7% rise in Japan's Nikkei share index and firm oil market was a particularly strong tonic for palm oil prices. The benchmark June contract stood 81 ringgit, or 3.7%, higher at 2,246 ringgit a tonne at 07.30 GMT. The contract touched 2.250 ringgit earlier, a fresh six-month high.

Forecasts of data on Friday showing low stocks also returned to boost the market, traders said.

Major grains were also higher, with China's forecast of production falls only raising investors' appetites. Chicago corn for May delivery was 2.75 cents higher at $3.99 ¾ a bushel, with wheat up 5.25 cents at $5.37 ¼ a bushel.

However, soybeans again led the charge in Chicago, with the May contract up 12 cents at $10.18 a bushel.

On external markets, Brent crude traded 2.7% higher at $52.99 a barrel, with benchmark New York crude up 1.5% at $50.90 a barrel. Major European share indices were also trading higher.

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