Indian palm oil imports in May are expected to rise to more than 600,000 tonnes despite restrictions imposed by Indonesia on exports as most of the contracted quantities will be loaded before the Jakarta ban takes effect, dealers told Reuters.
The world’s largest palm oil exporter plans from Thursday to stop shipments of refined, bleached and deodorized palm olein (RBD) but will allow the export of crude palm oil (CPO) or other derivative products.
The ban could affect Indian imports in June as refiners are struggling to get supplies from Malaysia, dealers said.
“The shipment is almost complete for May delivery at Indonesian ports. The quantity will be unloaded in India next month,” said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive of Sunvin Group, a Mumbai -based vegetable oil brokerage and consultancy firm.
India is the world’s largest importer of palm oil and relies on Indonesia to meet almost half of its palm oil needs of around 700,000 tonnes per month.
In March, India imported 207,362 tonnes of palm oil from Indonesia, including 145,696 tonnes of RBD palmolein.
As Indonesia does not ban CPO exports, Indian refiners will also buy small amounts in the next few months, said a Mumbai -based trader with a global trading firm.
“Indonesia’s supply of CPO for export is very limited. Buyers will turn to Malaysia, but it has a limited surplus,” the dealer said.
India imported 539,793 tonnes of palm oil in March, while shipments in April are expected to increase to 600,000 tonnes.
Before Indonesia announced the sanctions, industry officials expected Indian palm oil imports in May to increase to more than 650,000 tonnes, but now they expect shipments of just over 600,000 tonnes.
“Indonesia and Malaysia are major suppliers of palm oil, but in the next few months the industry will try to get more palm oil from Thailand and Papua New Guinea,” said Atul Chaturvedi, president of the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) trade body.
But supply from these small producers is insufficient and there may be a shortage in June, Chaturvedi said.
India also imports soyoil from Argentina, and solar oil from Ukraine and Russia, but its supply is limited.