Palm oil imports surge on costlier sunflower oil

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on June 14, 2021

Shipments up 24.27 per cent during Nov-May, soyabean oil inflow up a tad

Imports of palm oil increased by 24.27 per cent during the first seven months of the current oil year (November 2020 - October 2021) mainly in view of prices of sunflower oil more than doubling, according to the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA).

Sunflower oil imports declined by 22.35 per cent during the period in view of the high price.

India imported 4.56 million tonnes (mt) of palm oil (including crude palm oil and RBD palmolein) during November-May 2020-21 compared 3.67 mt in the corresponding period a year ago.

BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA, said that the import of soft oils (which includes sunflower oil) decreased due to high prices in the global market.

India imported 1.27 mt of sunflower oil during the review period against 1.64 mt in the corresponding period a year ago. The cost, insurance and freight price of crude sunflower was $789/tonne in May 2020 and by May this year, it had increased over 100 per cent to $1,609/tonne in May this year.

He said the high price of sunflower oil discouraged its import.

Imports of soybean oil increased to 1.64 mt during November-May against 1.57 mt in the year-ago period. There was a marginal growth of 4.10 per cent during the review period.

Mehta said that the higher spread between soft oils and palm oil encouraged the import of palm oil to India during the first seven months.

Malaysia’s share in export of crude palm oil (CPO) increased to 2.34 mt (53 per cent) from 0.62 mt, while Indonesia’s share declined to 1.96 mt (44 per cent) from 2.56 mt during the review period.

Total veg oils

The overall import of vegetable oils (including edible oils and non-edible oils) increased to 1.24 mt during May compared with 0.74 mt in May last year.

The overall import of vegetable oils during November-May stood at 7.67 mt compared with 7.06 mt in the year-ago period.

Mehta said the import of vegetable oils during May went up by 19 per cent compared with April due to lower stock in the pipeline, subdued import in the earlier months, and increase in demand due to the lifting of lockdown.

There was a 68 per cent increase in the import of vegetable oils in May 2021 compared with May 2020. He said the complete lockdown in the country in May 2020 had affected imports during that month.

Published on June 14, 2021

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