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Palm Oil Imports by India Advance on Tax Increase Speculation

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Palm oil imports by India, the world’s biggest buyer, climbed for the first time since June as traders boosted shipments on speculation that taxes may be increased to curb a surge in inflow of refined oils.

Purchases jumped 26 percent to 774,207 metric tons in November from a year earlier, the Solvent Extractors’ Association said in an e-mailed statement today. That was more than the 700,000 tons predicted in a Bloomberg survey published last week. Total imports, including sunflower and soybean oils, surged 35 percent to 944,309 tons, the association said.

Rising demand from the world’s second-most populous nation may trim stockpiles in Indonesia and Malaysia, the biggest global palm oil producers, and help extend the first annual increase in futures in Kuala Lumpur since 2010. India’s government is considering raising import duties on refined oils to 10 percent from 7.5 percent to help local processors, government officials said last month.

“People were anticipating that there will be an increase in duty of RBD palm olein and that’s one of the reasons why imports surged,” said B.V. Mehta, executive director of the association. “We are disappointed that the decision has been delayed.”

Cooking oil stockpiles at ports and pipelines increased to 1.47 million tons as of Dec. 1 from 1.4 million tons a month earlier, the lowest level since February 2012, data from the association showed. India meets more than 50 percent of its annual cooking oil demand through imports.

Palm oil for delivery in February traded 0.2 percent lower at 2,625 ringgit ($814) a ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange by 3:55 p.m. in in Kuala Lumpur.

Sunflower oil imports jumped to 120,197 tons last month from 47,500 tons a year earlier, while crude soybean oil purchases were little changed at 14,980 tons, the association said. Traders imported 17,727 tons of rapeseed oil, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pratik Parija in New Delhi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at

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