Agri Business

Palm oil imports skyrocket to record 12.62 lakh tonnes in September

A J Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on October 13, 2021

Overall edible oil shipments hit new high of 16.98 lt

India imported a record volume of palm oil in September ever since it began shipping in the commodity in 1996, while the country's purchase of edible oils also hit a new high during the month as a result.

According to the data available with Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), the country imported 12.62 lakh tonnes (lt) of palm oil (including RBD palmolien, crude palm oil and crude palm kernel oil) during September against 7.5 lt in August, recording a growth of 68.24 per cent.

BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA, said palm oil import at 12.62 lt in September is the highest in any single month since India started importing palm oil in 1996.

There was significant jump in the import of RBD palmolein from 1.87 lt in August to 3.97 lt in September. India imported 8.44 lt of crude palm oil (CPO) in September against 5.50 lt in August and 19,896 tonnes of CPKO (crude palm kernel oil).

Import of RBD palmolien sharply increased during August and September due to the relaxation in policy for import of RBD palmolein with effect from July 1. The overall import of RBD palmolein jumped by over 50 per cent and reported at 6.28 lt in the first 11 months of the oil year 2020-21 (November-October) as against 4.16 lt in the corresponding period of the previous oil year, he said.

Import of RBD palmolein and RBD palm oil moved from ‘restricted’ to ‘free’ category with effect from July 1 up to December 31.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the major suppliers of RBD palmolein and CPO to India. During November-September 2020-21, Malaysia exported 32.66 lt of CPO and 1.82 lt of RBD palmolein, followed by Indonesia at 4.35 lt of RBD palmolein and 32.31 lt of CPO to India.

New peak in edible oil import

Import of edible oils has reached a new peak after six years with the import of 16.98 lt in September. He said it is a new record in the shipment of edible oil in a single month. Earlier, India had imported 16.51 lt in October 2015.

Import of vegetable oils (including both edible and non-edible oils) stood at 17.62 lt in September as against 10.53 lt in August, and 10.61 lt in September 2020.

The overall import of vegetable oils during November-September 2020-21 stood at 124.70 lt as against 122.57 lt in November-September of 2019-20.

Mehta said the import of palm oil increased to 76.27 lt during November-September of 2020-21 compared to 64.40 lt in the corresponding period of the oil year 2019-20. He attributed this to the lower duty advantage compared to soft oils.

The overall share of palm oil in the total edible oil imports increased to 63 per cent during the November-September 2020-21 as against 54 per cent in the corresponding period of previous oil year.

Import of soft oils decreased to 44.58 lt during November-September of 2020-21 against 55.09 lt in the corresponding period of 2019-20. He attributed this to the high prices of soybean and sunflower oils in international market during the period.

Rapeseed oil import begins

He said the shipment of crude rapeseed oil restarted to India from August due to high price of domestic rapeseed oil (mustard oil). India imported nearly 12,000 tonnes and 20,215 tonnes of rapeseed oil during August and September, respectively. He said this the shipment is expected to increase during the next two-three months to fill the shortage of mustard oil.

During November-September of 2020-21, India imported crude soyabean degummed oil from Argentina (22.38 lt) followed by Brazil (3.40 lt). The country imported crude sunflower oil from Ukraine (13.19 lt) followed by Russia (2.22 lt) and Argentina (1.99 lt) during the period.


He said the stock of edible oils at various ports was estimated at 8.45 lt, and pipeline stock at 11.60 lt as on October 1. He attributed this to heavy import during September.

The total stock has increased by 2.55 lt to 20.05 lt as on October 1, from 17.50 lt as on September 1, and 16.02 lt in October 2020.

Published on October 13, 2021

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