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India”s palm oil imports up 48pc at 7.69 lakh tons in May

New Delhi,  India”s import of palm oils rose by 48 per cent to 7,69,602 tonne in May this year on higher shipments of crude palm oil, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said on Monday. India, the world”s leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 4,00,506 tonne palm oils in May 2020.

The country”s total vegetable oil imports rose by 68 per cent to Rs 12.49 lakh tonne in May this year compared to 7.43 lakh tonne in the year-ago period. The share of palm oil is more than 60 per cent of the country”s total vegetable oil imports. According to SEA, vegetable oil imports in May rose by 19 per cent when compared with the previous month due to lower stock in pipeline and lesser import during earlier months and increase in demand after lifting of the lockdown.

Imports are higher this time when compared to the year-ago period as there was a complete lockdown which had affected the import during May 2020, it said in a statement. Among palm oil products, import of crude palm oil (CPO) rose 53 per cent to Rs 7.55 lakh tonne in May this year from 3.60 lakh tonne in the year-ago period, as per the SEA data.

The shipment of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) increased 33.51 per cent to 11,894 tonne from 7,905 tonne in the same period. The import of RBD palmolein declined to 2,075 tonne in May this year from 32,050 tonne a year ago. Among soft oils, the import of sunflower oil rose to 1,75,759 tonne in May as against 1,33,688 tonne in the same period last year. Similarly, the shipment of soybean rose to 2,67,781 tonne from 1,86,782 tonne.

According to SEA, the high price of sunflower oil discouraged its import, while soyabean oil import marginally improved during the November-May period of the 2020-21 oil year. However, import of CPO increased in the first seven months of the current oil year due to higher spread between soft oils and palm oils encouraging its import by India, it said. Malaysia”s share in export of CPO has increased, while Indonesia”s share reduced in the said period, it added. SEA said the stock of edible oils at various ports has increased by 1.51 lakh tonne to 19.60 lakh tonne as on June 1, this year from 18.09 lakh tonne in the previous month. India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oil, including soyabean oil from Argentina. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia. PTI