Country’s vegetable oil imports fell by 24 per cent in July to 11.4 lakh tonnes due to under utilisation of capacity by the domestic refining sector, according to industry data.
Imports of vegetable oils (comprising edible oils and non edible oils) stood at 15.01 lakh tonnes in July last year.
“Import of vegetable oils during July 2016 slows down due to high stock,” Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.
However, the import of vegetable oils during the first nine months of the current oil marketing year rose by 5 per cent to 10.9 million tonnes compared to 10.35 million tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Oil marketing year runs from November to October.
Import of RBD palmolein during November-July period of 2015-16 oil year increased to 19.84 lakh tonnes from 10.98 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period and is expected to increase further in the coming months.
“The alarming increase in import of RBD Palmolein is seriously hurting the domestic refining industry. This situation has arisen due to the fact that currently the landed cost of RBD olein (finished product) is same as that of Crude Palm Oil (raw material).
“Due to this situation, the domestic refining industry is facing severe crisis of under utilisation of capacity and is on the verge of closure,” SEA said.
The association demanded that the government should raise the duty difference between crude and refined vegetable oils from 7.5 per cent to 15 per cent.
The current stock of edible oils as on August 1, 2016 at various ports is estimated at 7,70,000 tonnes and about 13,80,000 tonnes in pipelines.
Total stock at ports and in pipelines stood at 21,50,000 tonnes as against 23,20,000 tonnes in July 2015.
India’s monthly requirement is about 16.5 lakh tonnes and operate at 30 days stock against which currently holding stock of over 21.50 lakh tonnes equal to 39 days requirements.