Soft oil imports touch 4-month high in Feb as global prices fall

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on March 15, 2019 Published on March 15, 2019

India’s soft oil imports have touched a four-month high in February. As per the data compiled by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), the total soft oil imports, including soyabean oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, touched 430,359 tonnes -- the highest in the first four months (November, 2018 - February, 2019) of oil marketing year 2018-19.

On the other hand, palm oil imports in February, 2019 is reported at 751,703 tonnes. The share of palm oil in the overall vegetable oil imports has gone up from 65 per cent during same period in the previous year to 67 per cent now.



The increase in imports is attributed to softer international prices-- by 5-20 per cent-- of various oils. But the depreciation of rupee to the extent of 10 per cent in the last one year has contained the price advantage. RBD Palmolein prices fell from $677 a tonne (CIF Indian port) in February, 2018 to $585 a tonne in February, 2019. Similarly, crude soyabean oil prices too dipped from $809 a tonne to $760 a tonne. However, the currency exchange rate was ₹64.43 a dollar a year ago against ₹71.17 a dollar now.

Among the soft oils, soyabean oil reported a sharp jump from 185,906 tonnes in January to 220,376 tonnes in February, which is about 18 per cent growth over the previous month.

On the stock position, SEA noted, “Total stock at ports and in pipelines is reported at 2,195,000 tonnes, increased by 85,000 tonnes from 2,110,000 tonnes, as on February 1, 2019. India’s monthly requirement is about 19 lakh tonnes and operate at 30 days stock against which currently holding stock over 21.95 lakh tonnes equal to requirements for 25 days.”

SEA raised its concerns about the increasing imports of RBD palmolein after the reduction in import duty and shrinking of duty difference between crude and palm oil from 10 per cent to 5 per cent on palmolein to be imported from Malaysia.

Published on March 15, 2019
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