Edible oil import surges 80% in Oct-Dec 2008

Written by Commodities Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Jan 16 2009, 03:14am hrs
Import of edible oils increased sharply by nearly 80% to 20.24 lakh tonne during the October-December 2008 compared to 11.25 lakh tonne in the same period last year, thanks to sharp drop in international prices and anticipation of import duty by the government.

The increase has adversely affected domestic industry during peak crushing season. Most of the plants are currently running on marginal or negative margin affecting overall crushing and availability of domestic oils. The import of edible oils during December 2008 was reported at 7.45 lakh tonne from 5.55 lakh tonne in November 2008.

Import of refined edible oils during November and December 2008 was reported at 2.66 lakh tonne compared to 42,033 tonne and crude edible oil was reported at 9.72 lakh tonne compared to 5.82 lakh tonne for the same period last year, according to latest figures released by Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA).

Sunflower oil has gained the market share from soybean oil as sunflower oil has become cheaper compared to soybean oil, thanks to fresh 20% import duty on soybean oil. Import of sunflower oil was reported at 40,420 tonne during the two months (November and December 2008) against nil in the same period last year.

Currently, the landed cost of sunflower oil is $854 a tonne ex-Indian port. Soybean oil is $921 a tonne due to fresh import duty of 20% imposed by the government. As a result, more parcels of sunflower oil are likely to be expected in coming months, SEA officials said.

However, this has pushed the local prices of sunflower seed below MSP (Rs 2,215 per 100 kgs) at Rs 1,900/2,000 per 100 kgs forcing farmers to hold back sale of sunflower seed at this price level, official said.

Import of palm oil during November and December was reported at 11.32 lakh tonne compared to 6.16 lakh tonne while soft oils import was reported at 1.05 lakh tonne compared to 7,500 tonne during the same period last year.

Firm ground

Rise in import adversely affected domestic industry

Import of refined edible oils in Nov-Dec was 2.66 lakh tonne

Crude edible oil import was reported at 9.72 lakh tonne