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Palm oil imports fall 11% in January

Press Trust of India/New Delhi 16 Feb 17 | 01:15 AM

Palm oil imports fell for the third consecutive month by 11.56 per cent to 608,762 tonnes in January, on account of good domestic oilseeds production and better availability of edible oils, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said on Wednesday.

India, the world’s leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 688,393 tonnes palm oil in January 2015.

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The country’s total vegetable oil imports fell by 19 per cent to 1.24 million tonnes (mt) in January this year from 1.26 mt in the year-ago period.

“Import has reduced due to good Kharif oilseeds crop and better domestic availability of edible oils and utilisation of stock. Currency crunch due to demonetisation has slowed down the purchases by end consumers also affected the demand and import to some extent," SEA said in a statement. The share of palm oils is 64 per cent of the country’s total vegetable oil imports. There was increased purchase of RBD Palmolein as well as sunflower oils during the period because of the price advantage, it said.

Among palm oil products, import of RBD palmolein increased to 196,623 tonnes in January this year from 150,064 tonnes in the year-ago period. The shipment of crude palm oil (CPO) continued to decline and it stood at 408,140 tonnes as against 530,081 tonnes, while the import of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) too dropped to 3,999 tonnes, from 8,248 tonnes in the said period. Among soft oils, import of sunflower oil increased sharply to 214,872 tonnes in January this year, from 118,000 tonnes in the year-ago period.

The shipment of rapeseed-mustard oil also increased to 17,878 tonnes from 7,461 tonnes, but the import of soyabean oil fell to 166,573 tonnes from 441,200 tonnes in the period under review. “Importers continue to make larger import purchases of sunflower oil, taking advantage of the still large price discount versus soyabean oil," SEA said. As on February 1, the stock of edible oils at various ports was estimated to be at 1.73 mt which is equal to 32 days requirements. India's monthly requirement is about 1.65 mt, SEA said.

India imports palm oil, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oils, including soyabean oil from Latin America. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia. 

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