Agri Business

Palm oil import falls 20%, soyabean oil up 51% in Nov-Dec

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Jan 12, 2022
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Extractors blame reduced domestic crushing for fall in palm oil import

Import of palm oil fell even as it rose for soyabean oil in the first two months of the oil year 2021-22. The oil year runs from November to October.

According to the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India, palm oil import fell 20 per cent during November-December due to a decline in domestic crushing, while import of soyabean oil went up by 51 per cent.

BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA, said import of RBD palmolein increased to 82,267 tonnes during November-December, against 12,900 tonnes in the corresponding period the previous year.

He said the reduction in effective import duty on palmolein (refined palm) from 19.25 per cent to 13.75 per cent, without simultaneous reduction in import duty on crude palm oil (CPO), is likely to increase imports of refined palmolein at the cost of CPO. He said CPO is the raw material for domestic refineries.

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Import of total crude edible oils decreased to 2.27 million tonnes (mt) in November-December of 2021-22, against 2.39 mt in the corresponding period the previous oil year. With this, the share of crude edible oil in the total edible oil import basket fell to 96.5 per cent in November-December 2021-22 from 99.5 per cent in November-December 2020-21. Import of refined edible oils in the total edible oils basket went up from 0.5 per cent in November-December 2020-21 to 3.5 per cent in November-December 2021-22.

More import of refined oil likely

Stating that India had imported 1.66 mt of CPO in January-March 2020-21 and just 11,000 tonnes of RBD palmolein, Mehta said nearly 1-1.2 mt of RBD palmolein is likely to arrive during the January-March quarter this year, replacing much of CPO, as there is a wide disparityof ₹6,000 to ₹8,000 a tonne of processing. Reduction in duty difference and the Government’s decision to allow free import of RBD palmolein at lower duty till March 31, 2022, are the reasons for this.

It indicates that Indian refiners face a huge disparity, he said, adding it will compel them to close down palm oil refineries.

Overall palm oil imports (including CPO and refined palm oils) decreased to 1.10 mt (47 per cent) in November-December 2021-22 in the total edible oil basket, against 1.38 mt (58 per cent) in the corresponding period previous oil year. As a result, overall soft oil imports rose to 1.25 mt (53 per cent) during November-December 2021-22 in the total edible oil import basket, from 1.02 mt (42 per cent) in the corresponding period the previous oil year. Mehta attributed this to the increased import of soyabean oil.

Import of soyabean oil went up to 8.66 lakh tonnes (lt) during November-December of the oil year 2021-22, against 5.73 lt in the first two months of the oil year 2020-21.

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He said the import has been expensive as the rupee depreciated against the dollar to touch ₹75.39 dollar in December. In November, it was at ₹74.48 against the dollar.

Major exporters

Indonesia and Malaysia are the major suppliers of palm oil to India. During November-December 2021-22, Malaysia supplied 6.44 lt of CPO and 17,500 tonnes of RBD palmolein, and Indonesia 2.95 lt of CPO and 64,767 tonnes of RBD palmolein.

India imported 5.95 lt of crude soyabean degummed oil from Argentina, and 3.66 lt of crude sunflower oil from Ukraine during the period.

Veg oil

The total vegetable oil (both edible and non-edible) import stood at 1.22 mt during December 2021 against 1.35 mt in December 2020, down by 10 per cent. This included 1.21 mt of edible oils and 9,823 tonnes of non-edible oils.

The overall import of vegetable oils stood at 2.41 mt during the first two months of oil year 2021-22, against 2.45 mt in the corresponding period of the previous year, down by 2.4 per cent.

Published on January 12, 2022

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