India’s Vegetable Oil Imports Down 13% in 2019/2020 Oil Year

Thursday, November 26, 2020

India’s vegetable oil imports fell 13% in the oil year to October, a Reuters report from New Delhi said on November 13, citing data from the Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) of India. The country imported 13.5 million tons of vegetable oils in the 2019/20 oil year, SEA said in statement. Decline, according to the trade body, was due to sluggish demand from hotels and restaurants which bore the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. For the month of October this year, India imported 1.27 million tons of vegetable oils, down from 1.48 million tons in the same month last year, SEA said. 

During the oil year, India’s palm oil imports fell 23.3% to 7.22 million tons, the data showed    Palm oil is mainly used by hotels and restaurants, which gradually began reopening from June after a nationwide coronavirus lockdown imposed in March. But palm oil demand remained weak due to continued high levels of coronavirus cases in the country. However, purchases of soybean oil rose to 3.38 million ton during the period from 3.09 million the previous year. Sunflower oil imports likewise rose at 2.52 million tons against 2.35 million in 2018/19, the data showed.

Indian edible oil refiners are trimming imports of palm oil in November and December - the first two months of the 2020/21 oil year - to make space for soybean oil as a recent rally in the price of palm due to output worries reduced the spread between the two oils.  India, the world’s biggest importer of vegetable oils, imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia and soyaoil from Argentina and Brazil. It also buys sunflower oil from Ukraine and canola oil from Canada.

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