India Palm Oil Imports Seen Falling Third Month

  • Soybean oil purchases probably rose 1.4% in July: survey
  • Corrects palm, soy, vegetable oil imports in 2nd paragraph

Palm oil imports by India probably fell for a third month in July as some buyers switched to soybean oil.

Imports dropped 40 percent to 585,000 metric tons in July from a year earlier, according to the median of five estimates in a Bloomberg survey of processors, brokers and analysts. Total vegetable oil purchases fell 25 percent to 1.13 million tons, while soybean oil imports rose 1.4 percent, the survey showed. The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India is set to release import data in the middle of the month.

Soybean oil imports increased as its premium over palm declined, said Nagaraj Meda, managing director of Hyderabad-based TransGraph Consulting. Traders held off buying palm oil given that there were adequate edible oil stockpiles at ports, he said.

Total cooking oil stockpiles in the world’s biggest buyer were at 2.32 million tons on July 1, from a record 2.51 million tons in January, association data show. Palm oil futures in Kuala Lumpur fell into a bear market last month amid weakening demand including from China, where imports slumped 25 percent in first half. Soybean oil’s premium over palm oil dropped 11 percent in July, the most since March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Demand Rebound

India’s total cooking oil inventories by Aug. 1 probably fell to 2.07 million tons, the lowest since April 1, 2015, said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive officer of Sunvin Group, a Mumbai-based broker and consultant for the oilseed industry. Palm oil stockpiles at ports probably fell 33 percent to 310,000 tons, which will help boost imports in August and September, he said.

Palm oil futures have climbed 6.1 percent this month on signs demand is increasing. Exports from Malaysia jumped 18 percent in the first 10 days of August from a month earlier, led by higher purchases by China and India, according to cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services.

India’s soybean oil imports probably increased 1.4 percent to 354,438 tons in July from a year earlier, while sunflower oil purchases advanced 15 percent to 140,000 tons, according to the survey. Canola oil purchases were 30,504 tons.

India relies on imports to meet more than 70 percent of its cooking oil needs. The country buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia and soybean oil from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina.

ImportsJuly 2016 (Survey)June 2016 (SEA)July 2015 (SEA)
Palm oil585,000607,129976,175
Soybean oil354,438386,145349,436
Sunflower oil140,000147,350121,782
Total Vegetable oil1,130,0001,169,4561,501,195
(Corrects July 2015 figures in table and scale of changes in first deckhead, second and penultimate paragraphs in story published Aug. 11.)
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