Base import prices of edible oils cut

Mumbai, Nov 16 | Updated: Nov 17 2005, 05:30am hrs
The government on Wednesday reduced the base import prices of RBD palm oil to $435 a tonne from $439, other palm oil to $434 a tonne from $437, crude palmolein to $440 from $443, RBD palmolein to $445 from $449 and other palmolein to $443 from $446. Government fixes base prices to calculate customs duties to prevent the loss of revenue due to under-invoicing by importers. Traders pay import duties on base values irrespective of the prices paid for the oil.

Traders said the share of soyoil will continue to rise as global prices are likely to remain at lower levels. We will be buying more soyoil this year also and we expect it to be more than 42% of total imports, Sandeep Bajoria, a leading trader said.

The share of soyoil increased to about 40% in the year to October from an average of 30% in the past years. The rest was palm oil. The Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) of India said imports of RBD palmolein during the oil year fell to 422,735 tonnes from 796,846 tonnes. But shipments of refined soybean oil increased to 25,003 tonnes from 15,324 tonnes.

Traders said Indias edible oil buying in the year to October 2006 is likely to remain flat because of higher domestic oilseed output. Dealers estimated that the country would require 500,000 tonnes of more edible oil this year because of higher per capita consumption and growth in population.

Indias winter oilseed output is expected to rise to 13.37 million tonnes from 12.36 million tonnes a year ago, a leading trade body said on Sunday. Production of soybean, the seasons main oilseed crop, was expected to be 6.16 million tonnes compared with 5.85 million tonnes last winter, said the Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT).

Groundnut output during the season is seen at 5.1 million tonnes compared with previous years 4.45 million tonnes. The country of more than one billion people imports around half its annual edible oil needs of 11 million tonnes. It buys palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia and soyoil from Brazil and Argentina.

A leading trade body said India bought 5.04 million tonnes of edible oil in the year to October compared with 4.4 million tonnes in the previous year.

Crude palm oil imports increased to 2.36 million tonnes from 2.06 million last year, while crude soyoil shipments to the country more than doubled to about 2 million tonnes from 890,695 tonnes, the SEA said in a statement earlier.