Vegetable oil imports fall 13% to 9.12 lakh-tons in April


Imports of vegetable oils, made up of edible and non-edible oils, fell 13% to nearly 9.12 lakh-tonnes in April, according to industry data, due to lower imports of crude palm oil.

The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement that the import of vegetable oils in April 2022 was 9,11,846 tons compared to 10,53,347 tons in April 2021.

Import of edible oils decreased from 10,29,912 tons to 9,00,085 tons, while shipments of non-edible oils decreased from 23,435 tons to 11,761 tons.

Crude palm oil imports fell to 4,14,829 tons in April from 6,89,731 tons in the same month last year.

Imports of vegetable oils increased by 4% to 67,07,574 tons in the first six months of this oil marketing year (November 2021 to April 2022). In the corresponding period of the previous oil year, it was 64,28,350 tons.

The oil marketing year lasts from November to October.

“Indonesia banned the export of palm oil effective April 28, 2022, which has unsettled the playing field and made life miserable for unfortunate consumers around the world,” SEA said in a statement.

India imports about 6,00,000 to 6,50,000 tons of palm oil per month from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and other countries.

Of this, Indonesia supplies about 3,00,000 tons, mainly RBD palm olein, while a similar amount arrives from Malaysia and the remaining 10% comes from Thailand and other countries.

“Indonesia is expected to lift the ban before the end of May. However, the situation will get dire if Indonesia continues to ban the export of palm oil products due to insufficient supplies available from other sources,” SEA said.

Import of refined oil (all refined palm oils) rose to 9,20,947 tons in the first six months of the current oil year from 24,101 tons in the same period last year.

From November 2021 to April 2022, palm oil imports decreased to 32,25,761 tons from 3,792,354 tons in the same period last year, while soft oil imports increased to 33,17,242 tons from 2,477,884 tons, mainly due to higher import of soybean oil.

According to SEA, during the oil year under review, about 11.10 lakh tons of sunflower oil were imported by India, mainly from Ukraine (8,42,956 tons), Russia (2,10,905 tons) and Argentina (56,426 tons).

“There has been no delivery from Ukraine since March 27, 2022. In April, the import of sunflower oil is only reported at 54,426 tons. High sunflower oil prices in the international market and lower availability and high domestic prices have shrunk the demand and consumption of sunflower oil in India,” said SEA.

This deficiency is partially replaced by other cooking oils such as palm olein, soybean oil, peanut oil and rice bran oil, he added.

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