India’s vegetable oil imports fell by 28% to 1.2 million tonnes in January compared to the same period last year, said the industry body SEA on Monday.
In January 2023, imports of vegetable oil reached 16.61 lakh tonnes.
India is a leading purchaser of vegetable oil on the global stage.
In the first quarter (November-January) of the current oil year, total imports dropped 23% to 36.73 lakh tonnes as against 47.73 lakh tonnes in the same quarter of the previous year.
According to the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), in January this year, a total of 782,983 tonnes of palm oil and 408,938 tonnes of soft oil were imported, comprising a substantial portion of the overall vegetable oil imports.
As of February 1, total edible oils stock stood at 26.49 lakh tonnes, down 7.64% from that of the year-ago period, it said in a statement.
SEA said prices of edible oils, which are currently low, may go up this year on lower production, global economic issues and supply constraints.
The availability of palm oil for edible oil requirements has come down as the two main producers, Malaysia and Indonesia, are diverting it for the production of biodiesel. This could increase prices this year, it said.
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Global palm oil output was seasonally low in January-March 2024, leading to a reduction of stocks both in producing as well as importing countries, it added.
India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia and a small quantity of crude soft oil, including soybean, from Argentina. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.