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Palm oil imports drop in Dec by 8.5%

Palm oil imports drop in Dec by 8.5%

KUALA LUMPUR: Palm oil imports fell for the second consecutive month by 8.5 percent to 7,23,158 tonnes in December 2016, on expected bumper oilseeds crop and better domestic edible oils supply, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said today.

India, the world’s leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 7,90,368 tonnes palm oil in December 2015. Country’s total vegetable oil imports fell by 15 percent to 12.09 lakh tonnes in December 2016, from 14.20 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period. “Import has reduced due to good kharif oilseeds crop and thus better domestic availability of edible oils.

Also, currency crunch due to demonetisation has slow down the purchases by end consumers also affected the demand and import to some extent,” SEA said in a statement. Palm oil makes up over 65 percent of the country’s total vegetable oil imports. However, there has been a sharp increase in the import of refined palm oil due to less price difference with crude palm oil (CPO). Among palm oil products, import of RBD palmolein rose by six percent to 2,45,554 tonnes in December 2016, from 2,31,810 tonnes in the year-ago period.

The shipments of CPO, however, dropped by 14 percent to 4,73,179 tonnes in December 2016, from 5,51,058 tonnes in the year-ago period, and the import of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) too declined to 4,425 tonnes, from 7,500 tonnes in the said period. Among soft oils,import of soyabean oil declined to 2,32,132 tonnes in December 2016 from 4,90,718 tonnes in the year-ago period, while sunflower oil and rapeseed oil shipments stood at 1,85,824 tonnes and 33,182 tonnes, respectively, in the said period. As on January 1, stock of edible oils at various ports was estimated at 6.95 lakh tonnes and about 11.50 lakh tonnes in pipelines, which can meet 34 days of requirements.

India’s monthly requirement is about 16.5 lakh tonnes, SEA said. India imports palm oil, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oils, including soyabean oil from Latin America. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.