India Palm Oil Imports Seen Rising for Fourth Month on Low Price

  • Soybean oil imports likely climbed 91% to 340,000 tons: survey
  • Total vegetable oil purchases up 29% to 1.32 million tons

India’s palm oil purchases probably climbed for a fourth straight month in May as a drop in global prices boosted demand amid a stronger local currency.

Imports rose 21 percent to 798,000 metric tons from a year earlier, according to the median of five estimates in a Bloomberg survey of processors, brokers and analysts. Total vegetable oil purchases rose about 29 percent to 1.32 million tons, the survey showed. The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India is set to release trade data in the middle of the month.

Benchmark futures fell for a fifth month in May, marking the longest monthly losing streak since 2005, as traders expect production in Malaysia and Indonesia to recover from El Nino-related drought. Prices have dropped 21 percent this year, benefiting buyers in India, which relies on imports to meet more than 70 percent of its cooking oil needs.

“Low global prices, along with a stronger rupee, made the landed price of palm oil cheap,” said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive officer of Sunvin Group, a Mumbai-based broker and consultant for the oilseeds industry. The rupee has strengthened 5.5 percent against the dollar so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Palm oil for August delivery on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives climbed 0.5 percent to 2,457 ringgit ($576) a ton on Friday.

“Ramadan demand amid low international prices is boosting palm oil imports,” said Veeresh Hiremath, head of research at Hyderabad-based Karvy Comtrade Ltd. “There is a recovery in production in source nations.”

Ramadan began in the last week of May and is marked by fasting from dawn and feasting at dusk. It will be followed by Eid al-Fitr at the end of June. The festivals, celebrated by Muslims around the world, typically drive up demand for palm oil.

India’s soybean oil imports probably increased 91 percent to 340,000 tons in May, the survey showed. India buys soybean oil from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina. Sunflower oil purchases rose 3 percent to 155,000 tons. Canola oil purchases are seen at 29,000 tons.

ImportsMay 2017 (Survey)April 2017 (SEA)May 2016(SEA)
Palm oil798,000752,632657,454
Soybean oil340,000304,942178,064
Sunflower oil155,000234,516150,449
Total Vegetable oil1,322,0001,339,4891,024,878
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