Vegetable oil imports jump 9% to 24.59 lakh tonnes in November-December

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NEW DELHI: India’s vegetable oil imports jumped 9 per cent in November- December 2020 to 24.59 lakh tonnes due to advance buying by industry to beat the impending export levies by Malaysia, according to industry data.

“Import of vegetable oils during November- December 2020 is reported at 24,59,484 tonnes compared to 22,55,501 tonnes for the same period in 2019,” Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement. The edible oil marketing year runs from November to October.

Edible oil imports increased to 13,28,161 tonnes in December from 11,07,380 tonnes in the same month last year. Non-edible oil shipments also rose to 28,424 tonnes from 20,901 tonnes during the period under review.

During November-December 2020, only 12,900 tonnes of refined oil (RBD Palmolein) was imported as against 2,17,225 tonnes in the same month last year.

SEA said the RBD Palmolein has been placed under a restricted list and imports are allowed but subject to licence, hence there is hardly import and particularly India is now importing crude edible oils only.

In view of this, import of crude oil increased to 23,98,590 tonnes in November-December this year as compared to 19,90,579 tonnes in the same period last year.

Palm oil import decreased to 13,88,860 tonnes from 14,13,853 tonnes in November-December last year, while soft oil import increased to 10,22,630 tonnes from 7,93,951 tonnes in the year-ago period.

However, import duty reduction on crude palm oil (CPO) to 27.5% from 37.5% since November 27,2020 has encouraged larger import of palm oil,SEA Executive Director BV Mehta said. Duty on soft oils remained unchanged at 35%.

To meet its domestic demand, India’s annual imports were 135.25 lakh of vegetable oils in 2019-20 which was 13 per cent less than the previous year.Indonesia and Malaysia are the major suppliers of palm oil to India. In case of crude soybean degummed oil, India mainly imported from Argentina, while crude sunflower oil mainly imported from Ukraine followed by Russia.

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