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Palm oil imports fall over 8% in Dec: SEA

New Delhi: India’s import of palm oils declined by 8.64 per cent to 7,41,490 tonnes in December 2019, Industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said on Thursday.

India, the world’s leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 8,11,700 tonne palm oils in December 2018.

The country’s total vegetable oil imports declined to 11.28 lakh tonne in December 2019, compared to 12.11 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, import of palm oils have declined, while that of soft oils have risen due to reduction in the duty difference between the two oils.

Among palm oil products, import of crude palm oil (CPO) declined to 6,31,824 tonne in December 2019, from 6,70,244 tonne in the year-ago period, as per the SEA data.

The shipment of RBD palmolein dropped to 94,816 tonne, from 1,30,459 tonne, while that of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) rose to 14,850 tonne from 10,997 tonne in the said period.

Among soft oils, import of sunflower oil declined to 1,97,842 tonne in December 2019 from 2,35,824 tonne in the year-ago period.

However, the shipment of soyabean oil rose sharply to 1,68,048 tonne from 85,404 tonne in the said period.

SEA said the government on January 8, this year banned import of RBD palmolein to regulate excessive import of refined palm oils.

The import will now be subjected to license, to be issued by Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

The SEA has made a representation to the government to cap import of refined palm oils at 50,000 tonne a month and restrict issue of licence for import of palm oil and refined palm oil.

Going forward, India is likely to buy more palm oil from Indonesia as the government has issued an informal advisory to refiners not to buy the commodity from Malaysia following its remarks on the new citizenship law and Kashmir issue, according to government and industry sources.

Against India’s monthly requirement of about 19 lakh tonnes, SEA said currently the country has a stock of 13.75 lakh tonnes of edible oils which can meet the requirement for 22 days.

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.

Source: Economic Times