India’s March palm oil imports surge as shipments of suntan oil from Ukraine halt


Palm oil imports rise 19% to 539,793 tons in March, sun oil imports could fall to 80,000 tons in April

Palm oil imports rise 19% to 539,793 tons in March, sun oil imports could fall to 80,000 tons in April

India’s palm oil imports rose 18.7% mom in March as traders secured alternatives to sunflower oil, which can no longer be bought from Ukraine, a leading trade body said on Wednesday.

Higher palm oil purchases by India, the world’s largest importer of cooking oils, could support Malaysian palm oil futures.

In March, 539,793 tonnes of palm oil landed in India, up from 454,794 tonnes in February, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

India imported 212,484 tons of sunflower oil in March, up from 152,220 tons in February, helped by the arrival of some ships that left Ukraine before the war, sources said.

“However, since no shipment arrived from Ukraine in April, the import of sunflower oil could drop to almost 80,000 tons, mainly from Russia and Argentina,” it said.

India secured 45,000 tons of Russian sunflower oil for deliveries in April at a record price as cooking oil prices in the local market soared due to the suspension of Ukrainian deliveries.

The country’s soybean oil imports fell to 299,421 tons in March from 376,594 tons a month ago, the SEA said.

“Brazil and Argentina have a limited surplus of soybean oil. In recent months, India has tried to buy soybean oil from other sources, including the United States and Germany. But these countries cannot ship large volumes,” a Mumbai-based trader told a global trading firm.

India imported a record 112,576 tons of soybean oil from the United States in the first five months of the current 2021/22 marketing year, which ends Oct. 31, SEA data showed.

With supplies of solar and soybean oil limited, India has no choice but to import more than 600,000 tonnes of palm oil in April, the trader said.

India buys palm oil from top producers Indonesia and Malaysia and soybean oil mainly from Argentina and Brazil.

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