India's Palm Imports Surge on Weaker Prices Before Summer

Updated on
  • Palm oil imports rise 36% to 834,444 tons: processors’ group
  • Total vegetable oil purchases advance 25% to 1.29m tons

India’s palm oil imports climbed in January as a drop in prices outpaced the higher import duties imposed by the world’s top buyer in November.

Imports advanced about 36 percent from a year earlier to 834,444 metric tons, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India said in a statement on Thursday. That compares with a median estimate of 805,000 tons in a Bloomberg survey. Total vegetable oil purchases, including sunflower oil and those for industrial use, climbed about 25 percent to 1.29 million tons, the association said.

Imports Surge

India palm oil purchases climb 36% in January

Source: Solvent Extractors' Association of India

Palm oil prices on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives fell for a third straight month in January on higher stockpiles, muted demand from key buyers and expectations of a surge in supply later in the year. Importers and traders normally stock up before the summer season when demand is generally stronger. During the winter period, palm oil solidifies and demand generally drops. Palm futures for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to close at 2,508 ringgit ($644) a ton on Thursday.

“Palm oil is cheap and at the same time there is no duty on Malaysian exports,” said B.V. Mehta, executive director of the association. “Exporters in Malaysia wanted to offload their stockpiles.” Malaysia removed duties on crude palm oil from Jan. 8 and will keep them at zero percent until April 7 or when stockpiles drop to 1.6 million tons.

Soybean oil imports increased 35 percent to 224,870 tons in January from a year earlier. The country buys soybean oil mainly from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina. Sunflower oil purchases fell around 21 percent to 170,831 tons, the association said.

(Updates to add prices in third paragraph.)
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