Imports of edible oil from India rose by 23 per cent to 9,860,608 tonnes in February as a result of the increase in shipments of refined palm oil, mainly to the industrial organization – the Solvent Extractors ’Association of India (SEA) said on Monday.
In the same month last year, imports of edible oils amounted to 7,96,568 tonnes.
Total imports of vegetable oils (edible and non-edible) rose to 10.19.997 tonnes in February 2021 from 8.38.607 tonnes, the SEA of India said in a statement.
Of all vegetable oil imports, edible oil imports rose to 9,833,608 tonnes in February 2021 from 7,96,568 tonnes.
Imports of refined palm oil rose to 3,02,928 tonnes from 6,000 tonnes.
Imports of uneaten oil fell to 36,389 tonnes last month from 42,039 tonnes a year ago.
Overall imports of vegetable oils in the first four months of the 2021-22 oil year, from November to October, rose by 7 per cent to 46.91.158 tonnes, compared to 43.94.760 tonnes in the same period last year.
RBD Palmolein’s imports rose from 21,601 tonnes to 5,19,450 tonnes, the SEA said.
In contrast, imports of crude palm oil (CPO) fell from 24,89,105 tonnes to 15,662,639 tonnes, he added.
India typically imports about 1.75-2 lakh tons of sunflower oil per month.
“The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted the supply of sunflower oil. In February 2022, about 1.52,000 tonnes arrived in India, and in March 2022 a similar quantity is likely to arrive before the end of the war. Indian ports in the current month.” , said the association.
If the war continues, there may be a drop in sunflower oil shipments in the coming months, the SEA said.
“However, the shortage of sunflower oil availability could be met by higher domestic availability of soybean and mustard oils,” he added.
The SEA has stated that a forecast by the Indonesian government on March 9 to raise the domestic sales limit from 20 percent to 30 percent will further reduce Indonesia’s export volume and tighten its global export supply.
“These two factors are causing high volatility in the prices of edible oil in the international market in recent days,” the statement said.
The Ministry of Finance has reduced the Agricultural Infrastructure and Development Rate for crude palm oil imports to 5% from the previous 7.5%, bringing the tax gap between CPO and RBD oils to 8.25% from the previous 5.5%.
“This gave a little relief to the beleaguered refining industry, but not enough,” the SEA said.
Indonesia and Malaysia are major suppliers of palm oil to India. Crude soybean oil is mainly imported from Argentina and Brazil, and crude sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.