According to data released by the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), October 2008 witnessed a record import of vegetable oil which followed a lean crushing season coupled with the price plummeting to its lowest in overseas markets in last two years. In anticipation of the increase in import duty on edible oil, importers rushed to book their orders.
In October 2008, edible oil import set a new high of recording the the highest imports in a month since imports opened in 1994 and reported at 8.27 lakh tonne, consisting of 7.87 lakh tonnes of edible oils and 40,000 tonnes of non-edible oils against 6.67 lakh tonnes in September 2008 and 5.40 lakh tonnes in last October 2007.
The total import of edible oil during the year was reported at 56.08 lakh tonne compared to 47.15 lakh tonnes last year, up by 19% over the previous year. Import of crude palm oil (CPO) has increased to 40.44 lakh tonnes from 29.94 lakh tonne and RBD palmolien jumped to 7.31 lakh tonne from 1.15 lakh tonne in the previous year, mainly due to reduction in duty on RBD palmolein and on account of imports by the government for the public distribution system (PDS).
Soybean oil import has reduced to 7.59 lakh tonne from 13.23 lakh tonne. Sunflower oil imports have also reduced to 27,000 tonne from 1.95 lakh tonne due to disparity in landed cost for soft oils compared to palm products.
Import of vanaspati reduced to 0.5 lakh tonne compared to 2.5 lakh tonne in 2006-07 as there was no commercial viability to import from neighbouring countries. Import of non-edible oil in the review period reported at 6.47 lakh tonne from 6.29 lakh tonne of the previous year, up by 3%. Import of PFAD substantially increased to 3.68 lakh tonne from 2.55 lakh tonne, while the CPS import is drastically reduced due to disparity in import and reported at 1.09 lakh tonne from 2 lakh tonne last year.