Pakistan palm oil imports to slow down on cottonseed arrival

Written by Reuters | Islamabad | Updated: Aug 29 2009, 03:23am hrs
Pakistan made heavy purchases of palm oil for August and September but buying will slow in the October-December quarter partly because of stocks and the arrival of the cottonseed crop, an industry official said on Thursday.

Pakistan, after a long pause, has also placed orders for about 95,000 tonne of oilseeds for October shipment that will also cut demand for palm oil imports, said Rasheed Janmohammad, vice-chairman of the Pakistan Edible Oil Refiners Association.

Pakistan has bought very well for August and September and the buying is not less than 150,000 tonne a month, Janmohammad said. About 80 to 85%of it will be Malaysian.

But most cargoes for August would be shipped in September because of the tight availability of freight on rising demand in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Sunday, and for the Indian festival of Diwali in October, he said.

Pakistan, the world's fourth-largest buyer of vegetable oils, imports a mix of refined and crude palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia, the world biggest producers.

It consumes about 3 million tonnes of edible oil a year, but produces only 500,000-800,000 tonne of cottonseed, rapeseed and sunflower, relying on imports to meet about 80% of demand. As the August shipment would arrive in September, when Ramadan will be nearing an end, Pakistan will have a carryover stock in October, meaning less need for imports.

The cottonseed crop, due in November/December, and the import of oilseed would also mean less imports of palm oil for the last quarter, he said.

Janmohammad said Pakistan had recently bought three cargoes of oilseed consisting of 60,000 tonne of sunflower and about 30,000 to 35,000 tonne of canola for October shipment.

Two parcels of 30,000 tonnes each of sunflower seed were purchased at between $396 and $405 a tonne and the canola oilseed at $442 a tonne, he said.