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India Palm Imports Expected to Jump on Festival Demand

  • Palm oil imports probably rose 20% in September, survey shows
  • Soy oil purchases seen falling 24%, sunflower oil seen surging

India’s palm oil purchases probably climbed for an eighth straight month in September as lower international prices prompted traders and refiners to buy more to meet festival demand.

Imports rose 20 percent to 925,000 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 increased 6.4 percent to 1.49 million tons. The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India is likely to release trade data this week.

Palm oil demand generally spikes during the festive period in India, the world’s biggest importer, as Hindus celebrate major festivals such as Dussehra and Diwali between September and November. Vegetable oils are an important part of the festivities as consumption of sweets to fried foods increases.

“Palm oil prices were down so people bought considering the festival demand,” according to G. G. Patel, managing partner of GGN Research. Total vegetable oil imports probably climbed to the highest level so far in the year that began in November, he said.

Palm oil futures on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives fell 0.4 percent in September and have dropped 6.6 percent from a six-month high reached on Sept. 14. Futures traded 0.4 percent higher at 2,706 ringgit ($641) a ton on Thursday.

India’s soybean oil imports declined 24 percent to 357,000 tons in September, the survey showed. The country buys soybean oil mainly from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina. Sunflower oil purchases rose 74 percent to 180,000 tons. Canola oil imports are seen at 15,000 tons.

ImportsSept. 2017 (Survey)August 2017 (SEA)Sept. 2016 (SEA)
Palm oil925,000868,744773,497
Soybean oil357,000289,746469,564
Sunflower oil180,000133,396103,638
Total Vegetable oil1,490,0001,361,2721,399,993

NOTE: Figures in metric tons

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