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Wednesday, Jun 09, 2004

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Groundnut oil exports top 1 lakh t

Vinod Mathew

Ahmedabad , June 8

GROUNDNUT oil exports during this oil calendar year (November 2003-October 2004) have crossed one lakh tonnes. The export earnings from this commodity till May have been put at over Rs 500 crore.

Groundnut oil exports are expected to settle at around 1.4 lakh tonnes and export earnings at Rs 700 crore by October 2004. While the first four months saw an average c.i.f price of $1,050-1,100 per tonne, the price is now ruling at $ 1,200 per tonne.

Mr Ramesh Patel of LG Brokers told Business Line such a phenomenon could not have come about but for low production of groundnut in Argentina and Senegal. India, with a surplus production at around 70 lakh tonnes as against 46 lakh tonnes last year, seized the opportunity, he said.

"The major destinations have been the European markets, with Rotterdam being one of the favourite ports of call as also New Orleans in the US. A few parcels were also sent to China. The export opportunity is one reason the domestic rates have held firm at around Rs 450 per 10 kg," Mr Patel said.

Industry pundits, who were till February putting the likely export figure at 70,000 tonnes, did not account for a spurt during March. With that month alone accounting for 29,552 tonnes, groundnut oil exports, which were at 51,504 tonnes in February climbed to 81,056 tonnes. By April-end, this stood at 94,706 tonnes, of which 93,500 tonnes were shipped from the Kandla port.

Now, with the one-lakh tonne mark firmly behind them, groundnut oil exporters are eagerly looking at closing out the current season at around 1.4 lakh tonnes. This is a modest target, they say, as the next five months are expected to come good for only 8,000 tonnes each.

Incidentally, February was the only month that saw the exports slip below the 10,000-tonne mark, at 8,000 tonnes.

While figures for May are yet to be made available, the tonnage of exports during the first six months of the current oil season were as follows: November - 13,324, December - 15,880, January - 14,300, February - 8,000, March - 29,552 and April - 13,650.

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