MUMBAI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Benchmark Malaysian prices for crude palm oil are likely to fall nearly 17 percent from current levels by November or December as overseas appetite for the commodity falters over the winter, leading industry analyst James Fry said on Thursday.
Malaysian crude palm oil (CPO) futures will drop below 2,400 ringgit ($572) per tonne in the last two months of the year, with their discount to other edible oils like sunflower and soyoil widening, Fry told the Globoil India conference.
Prices for the commodity, used to churn out products ranging from soap to biofuel, stood around 2,880 ringgit on Thursday. They have jumped nearly a fifth in the past three months.
Indonesia and Malaysia account for nearly 90 percent of global palm oil production.
Places such as China and Europe normally reduce their intake of palm oil in winter months as the tropical product solidifies in cold temperatures.
European Union CPO prices will likely drop by almost $100 from their August average of $674 per tonne by November-December, added Fry, the chairman of commodities consultancy LMC International.
A recent rally in palm futures based on reports of sharp fall in CPO output in Malaysia is "irrational" as the reduction in production due to national holidays will be made up later, said Fry.
"CPO output is recovering from the devastating impact of the El Nino drought," he said. An El Nino weather pattern hit Southeast Asian palm production hard in 2015, bringing drought conditions to parts of the region.
Sunflower oil will remain the most price-competitive alternative to palm oil in the European Union market over the next six months, Fry said. ($1 = 4.1990 ringgit) (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Joseph Radford)