India. Vegetable oil imports fall 8% on robust oilseeds output


India's vegetable oil imports have reported a decline of about 8 per cent during the first five months of the oil year 2016-17 (November-October) due to robust oilseeds output and rising domestic production of edible oils.

According to latest data released by the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI), India's vegetable oil imports for the period November-March stood at 5.79 million tonnes against 6.31 million tonnes reported in the corresponding period last year, thereby indicating a drop of 8 per cent.

"Due to higher production of oilseeds, lead to rising domestic production of edible oil, slowdown in consumption growth and reduction of stock resulted in a decline in import of vegetable oils in last two months," SEAI noted in its report.

India's oilseeds output is projected at a record 33.60 million tonnes for 2016-17, much higher than the preceding two-year lows of 25.25 mt and 27.51 mt, respectively.

According to the report, vegetable oil imports for March fell 7 per cent to 1.10 mt against 1.19 mt.

The report also revealed that during the five-month period, palm oil imports fell to 3.5 mt from 3.6 mt during the same period last year.

"However, overall share of palm oil products increased to 63 per cent from 57 per cent as RBD palmolein imports surged," SEAI said in its statement.

Import of soft oils, including soyabean, sunflower, rapeseed oil and safflower oil, fell to 2.1 mt from 2.6 mt during the same period last year.

"However, among soft oils, import of sunflower oil has sharply increased at the cost of soyabean oil," it said.

According to SEAI, since April 2016 the landed price of RBD palmolein has remained the same or lower than that of crude palm oil (CPO), which encouraged larger import of RBD palmolein at the cost of CPO.

"The spread between palm oil and soft oil also reduced larger import of soft oils. Also, importers continues to make larger import purchases of sunflower oil, taking advantage of attractive price versus soya oil," it said.

The strengthening of rupee during the past couple of months supported the import of vegetable oils. Rupee against dollar quoted at average rate of Rs. 68.04 a dollar in January 2017, which came down to Rs. 65.80 during March 2017.


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