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India’s sunflower oil imports skyrocket by 51% in March, pushing palm oil to lowest levels since 2023

In March, India’s imports of sunflower oil surged by 51% compared to the previous month, marking the second-highest level on record. Lower prices prompted refiners to boost their sunflower oil purchases and reduce their procurement of competing palm oil, according to five dealers.

Reduced palm oil imports by India, the world’s largest vegetable oil importer, could limit the upward momentum in benchmark Malaysian palm oil futures, which are currently trading close to their highest level in a year.

Rising sunflower oil imports are expected to decrease sunflower oil stockpiles in the Black Sea region.

According to estimates from dealers, sunflower oil imports in March jumped 51% from the previous month to 448,000 metric tons, marking the second-highest level on record.

Continue Exploring: India set to boost soyoil imports in 2024, palm oil purchases expected to decline

They reported that palm oil imports dropped by 3.3% to 481,000 tons, reaching the lowest level since May 2023.

“Sandeep Bajoria, CEO of Sunvin Group, a vegetable oil brokerage, stated, “Sunflower oil imports are increasing as a substitute for palm oil. Production challenges are maintaining firm palm oil prices, leading buyers to shift towards sunflower oil.”

Dealers indicated that crude palm oil (CPO) imports are available for approximately $1,020 per metric ton, inclusive of cost, insurance, and freight (CIF), for May delivery in India. Meanwhile, soyoil and sunflower oil are being offered at approximately $1,000 and $960 per ton, respectively.

Typically, palm oil is priced lower than its competitors, soyoil and sunflower oil. However, due to decreasing stocks, its prices have surpassed those of the rival oils, which currently have ample supplies.

“Sunflower oil prices are highly competitive, which is expected to drive increased imports even during April and May,” stated Rajesh Patel, managing partner at the edible oil trading and brokerage firm, GGN Research.

Dealers estimated that soyoil imports surged by 27% to 220,000 tons in March compared to the previous month. However, this figure is considerably lower than the monthly average imports of 306,000 tons recorded in the last marketing year that ended on October 31.

The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) is expected to release its data on March imports by mid-April.

Continue Exploring: India’s palm oil imports reach four-month high in December, fueled by competitive prices and increased demand for refined variants

Dealers reported that increased imports of sunflower oil and soyoil boosted India’s total edible oil imports to the highest level in six months, reaching 1.149 million tons in March. This marked an 18.7% rise from the previous month.

India primarily purchases palm oil from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, while sourcing soyoil and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia, and Ukraine.

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