Palm oil imports fell marginally to 7,73,497 tonnes in September this year, but rising shipments of refined palm oils are hurting domestic refiners, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said today.
India, the world’s leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 7,83,734 tonnes of palm oil in September 2015.
Palm oils make up 57 per cent of the country’s total vegetable oil imports. Of late, there has been a sharp increase in the import of RBD palmolein.
“The import of RBD palmolein is expected to increase further in coming months. The alarming increase in import of RBD palmolein is seriously hurting the domestic refining industry,” SEA said in a statement.
More RBD palmolein is being imported as the landed cost of the refined oil is same as the crude palm oil (CPO). It is cheaper to import refined palm oil because the export tax imposed on it by Indonesia/Malaysia is more than CPO, it said.
To address this situation, SEA demanded the government widen the import duty difference between refined and crude edible oils to 15 per cent, from the current 7.5 per cent.
Among palm oil products, import of RBD palmolein rose to 2,05,087 tonnes in September 2016, from 1,73,410 tonnes in the year-ago period.
The shipments of CPO, however, fell to 5,64,912 tonnes in September, from 5,96,091 tonnes in the year-ago period, and the import of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) too dropped to 3,498 tonnes, from 14,233 tonnes in the said period.
Among soft oils, import of soyabean oil increased to 4,69,554 tonnes in September, from 3,21,062 tonnes in the year-ago period, while sunflower oil and rapeseed oil shipments stood at 1,03,638 tonnes and 29,951 tonnes, respectively, in the said period.
The import of RBD palmolein has risen sharply to 24.01 lakh tonnes in the first 11 months of the current oil year ending October 2016, from 14.30 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.
Country’s total vegetable oil imports rose 15 per cent to 13.99 lakh tonnes in September this year, from 12.16 lakh tonnes in the year-earlier period.
Currently, over 20.90 lakh tonnes of vegetable oils stocks are lying at ports and in the pipeline, which can meet 38 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.