India's Palm Imports Rebound From First Decline in 12 Months

  • Total vegetable oil imports climb 15 percent in January
  • Soybean oil imports rise 97 percent; sunflower imports fall

Palm oil purchases by India rebounded from the first drop in 12 months as traders and refiners in the world’s largest buyer increased shipments to bridge a widening cooking oil shortfall.

Imports climbed 4.5 percent to 688,393 metric tons last month from a year earlier, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. That compares with the 686,000 ton median estimate in a Bloomberg survey last week. Total vegetable oil purchases, including those for industrial use, increased 15 percent to 1.26 million tons in January, it said.

India, which depends on overseas supplies to meet 70 percent of its cooking oil needs, is boosting purchases after the first back-to-back shortfall in monsoon rainfall in three decades trimmed its oilseed harvest. Rising Indian appetite for palm oil may help futures in Kuala Lumpur extend gains from near a 21-month high as supplies dwindle from Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s top producers.

Soybean oil imports almost doubled to 441,200 tons in January from a year earlier while sunflower oil purchases fell 24 percent to 118,000 tons, the association said. Canola oil purchases were 7,481 tons, it said. Total vegetable stockpiles were estimated at 2.46 million tons as of Feb. 1, the association said.

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