Lockdown fallout: Vegetable oil imports fall to lowest levels since 2011

?OUR BUREAU New Delhi | Updated on June 04, 2020 Published on June 04, 2020

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The closure of the bulk user segments of hotels, restaurants, cafes as well as the absence of public functions and gatherings due to the nationwide lockdown - since March 2020 - has dragged India's vegetable oil imports for the month of May to the lowest levels since 2011.

The vegetable oil imports for the month of May 2020 were reported at 707,478 tonnes as compared to 1,180,789 tonnes in May 2019 which was down by 40 per cent, on year-on-year (YoY) basis.

As per the data compiled by the Solvent Extractors' Association of India, this has been lowest import level for the the month of May since 2011.

"The drop of import in April and May is mainly due to destruction in demand from HoReCa segment due to shut down of hotels, restaurants, canteens and public functions," the SEA noted.

The overall import of edible oils from November 2019 to May 2020 is reported at 6,889,662 tonnes as against 8,384,616 tonnes during the same period of previous year, showing a dip of 18 per cent. This fall is attributed to the reduction in import of RBD Palmolein by 76 per cent.

"In view of placing RBD Palmolein under the Restricted List with effect from January 8, 2020, its imports have since drastically reduced. In May 2020, import of RBD Palmolein reported just at 16,250 tonnes against 371,060 tonnes, a fall of 96 per cent compared to May 2019," it said.

In 2019, Malaysia shipped excessive RBD Palmolien to India - taking advantage of the low duty concession. The imports of CPO and CPKO also registered a 14 per cent decline during Nov-2019 to May -2020 period, as compared to same period previous year.

"This decline in the imports of palm products have directly benefited the imports of soft oils, such as soybean and sunflower oils, which is evident by their increase in imports by 7 per cent and 11 per cent respectively, thanks to household demand in consumer packs," BV Mehta, Executive Director, SEA stated.

For the period November to May, soybean oil imports stood at 15,79,104 tonnes, which was 14,69,199 tonnes in the same period last year. Similarly, there is a rise in the import of sunflower oil at 16,40,857 tonnes for the period, as against 14,72,742 tonnes last year.

Published on June 04, 2020
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