India imported 70.69 lakh tonnes (lt) of edible oils during the first six months of the oil year 2023-24 (November-October) against 80.02 lt in the corresponding period a year ago, registering a decline of 11.65 per cent. However, there was a significant increase in the import of edible oils during April. Data available with the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) shows that India imported 13.04 lt of edible oils during April 2024 against 10.21 lt in April 2023, registering a growth of 27.67 per cent. India’s edible oil imports stood at 11.49 lt in March 2024. BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA, said the downward price trend in April encouraged higher import of edible oils. International price of RBD palmolein and crude palm oil (CPO) declined by nearly $100 a tonne. Soyabean oil was also down by $40 a tonne and sunflower oil by just $15 a tonne in the last one month, he said.
Also read: Pricey palm oil brings edible oil import down by 17% during Nov-March 2023-24
Challenges for CBOT soya oil
Referring to the observations made by the expert Dorab Mistry at Globoil International in Dubai recently, Mehta said Mistry highlighted the ongoing challenges for CBOT soya oil futures due to competition from cheaper biodiesel alternatives. Mistry said sunflower oil prices seem to have stabilised after reaching a low point. Looking ahead, key influences will stem from North American weather patterns, palm production levels, and biofuel mandates. While futures may fluctuate, a bearish stance on agricultural prices seems unwarranted given the unpredictable nature of climate conditions. Mistry predicted palm oil futures on BMD to trade between Malaysian ringgit (MYR) 3700-4300 per tonne during May-June.
Also read: Indian vegetable oil import expected to decline to 16.2 mt in 2023-24
Palm oil slips
India imported 42.13 lt of of palm oil (including RBD palmolein and CPO) during the first six months of the oil year 2023-24 against 49.09 lt in the corresponding period of the previous oil year. Of this, the share of RBD palmolein was at 10.10 lt (11.01 lt in the oil year 2022-23) and CPO was at 31.32 lt (37.61 lt). However, RBD palmolein went up to 1.24 lt in April 2024 against 93,799 tonnes in March. Similarly, CPO import also increased to 5.36 lt in April 2024 against 3.81 lt in March 2024. During November-April of the oil year 2023-24, Indonesia supplied 15.28 lt of CPO and 8.80 lt of RBD palmolein to India, followed by Malaysia at 13.20 lt of CPO and 1.30 lt of RBD palmolein. Thailand exported 2.16 lt of CPO during the period.
Also read: Edible oil focus would help achieve self-reliance: SEA
Soyabean oil down 27%
India imported 12.68 lt of crude soyabean oil (de-gummed) during November-April of oil year 2023-24 against 17.25 lt in the corresponding period of 2022-23. India imported 3.85 lt of crude soyabean oil (de-gummed) in April 2024 against 2.18 lt in March 2024. India imported 6.64 lt of crude soyabean oil (de-gummed) from Argentina, 4.49 lt from Brazil and 65,497 tonnes from Russia during November-April of the oil year 2023-24. Other nations such as Ukraine and Thailand supplied 15,000 tonnes and 13,004 tonnes, respectively, during the period.
Sunflower shipments rise
India’s crude sunflower oil imports increased to 15.87 lt during November-April 2023-24 against 13.67 lt in the corresponding period of 2022-23. Import of crude sunflower oil declined to 2.34 lt in April 2024 against 4.45 lt in March 2024. During November-April of the oil year 2023-24, Russia exported 6.26 lt of crude sunflower oil to India, followed by Romania at 5.21 lt, Argentina at 1.76 lt and Ukraine at 1.69 lt. India’s total import of vegetable oils (including edible and non-edible oils) stood at 71.48 lt during the first six months of the oil year 2023-24 against 81.10 lt in the corresponding period of 2022-23, recording a decline of 11.86 per cent. SHARE
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