Palm oil imports at 8,05,362 tonnes accounted for 84 per cent of the total imports in February.

Vegetable oil imports increased 11 per cent to 9,69,175 tonnes in February against 8,76,669 tonnes logged in the same period last year.

The demand for palm oil moved up on the back of huge discounts offered by Malaysia and Indonesia.

Palm oil imports at 8,05,362 tonnes accounted for 84 per cent of the total imports in February.

Soft oil imports were at 1,48,814 tonnes which include soyabean (62,585 tonnes), sunflower (84,310 tonnes) and others (1,919 tonnes).

Refined palmolein prices have fallen 21 per cent to $870 a tonne in February against $1,104 a tonne recorded in the same period last year, largely due to over-supply in the market.

Crude palm oil was down 24 per cent at $816 a tonne ($1,073 a tonne) while soft oil prices remained almost at the same level.

However, Indian consumers did not benefit much from the drop in palm oil prices as the rupee depreciated by about nine per cent in the last one year, making imports a costlier affair.

In the first four months of the oil year, imports were up 22 per cent to 37,35,263 tonnes (30,61,923 tonnes), according to a Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India statement.

Non-edible oil imports

Non-edible oil imports were up 52 per cent at 88,733 tonnes (58,519 tonnes).

The share of crude oil imports had risen sharply to 31,63,239 tonnes (23,68,232 tonnes) and accounted for 86 per cent of the total imports between November and February.

Refined oil (RBD palmolein) imports were at 4,83,291 tonnes (6,35,172 tonnes). Palm oil shipments increased to 31,03,835 tonnes (24,70,692 tonnes), while that of soft oils were up marginally at 5,42,695 tonnes (5,32,712 tonnes) between November and February.

Stocks position

As on March 1, edible oil stock at various ports was estimated at 9,30,000 tonnes that includes CPO (crude palm oil) of 6,80,000 tonnes, RBD (refined) palmolein 1,05,000 tonnes, degummed soyabean oil 35,000 tonnes and crude sunflower oil of 1,10,000 tonnes. Another 10,30,000 tonnes are in transit, said the SEA release.

Inventories

The total stocks at the ports and in pipelines have increased to 19,60,000 tonnes, which will suffice 40 days of the country’s consumption.

Usually, the country holds an inventory of 30 days.

The large inventory was on the back of excessive imports in the last three months, the release said.

suresh.iyengar@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on March 14, 2013)
XThese are links to The Hindu Business Line suggested by Outbrain, which may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here.