India Palm Oil Imports Seen Falling as Higher Duties Curb Demand


India’s palm oil imports probably dropped in April as higher taxes on shipments curbed demand in the world’s biggest buyer.

Purchases fell about 1.7 percent to 740,000 metric tons from a year earlier, according to the median of four estimates in a Bloomberg survey of processors, brokers and analysts. Total vegetable oil imports decreased 9.7 percent to 1.21 million tons, the survey showed. The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India is expected to release its monthly trade numbers this week.

Lower imports by India may drag down palm oil prices, which have fallen in five out of six months through April. Benchmark futures in Malaysia have lost 4.9 percent so far this year on expectations of higher production and after India increased import taxes on the vegetable oil in March.

“Palm oil has got a duty disadvantage,” said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive officer of Sunvin Group, a Mumbai-based broker and consultant for the oilseeds industry. Imports may fall further to 675,000 tons in May as higher duties are dampening demand, he said.

Palm oil for July delivery rose 2.3 percent to 2,435 ringgit ($611) per ton by 11:11 a.m. on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives on Monday. The market reopened after a three-day break that saw the opposition party win office for the first time in six decades.

India’s soybean oil purchases fell about 42 percent to 177,500 tons in April, the survey showed. India buys soybean oil mainly from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina. Sunflower oil imports rose about 7 percent to 251,500 tons.


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