The first month of the oil year 2022–2023 saw an increase in imports of 34.24 percent (November to October). Data from India’s Solvent Extractors’ Association show that edible oil imports rose to 15.28 lt in November 2022–23 from 11.38 lakh tonnes (lt) in November 2021–22. (SEA). India imported 9.31 lt of CPO in November, up from 7.56 lt in October, according to B.V. Mehta, Executive Director, SEA of India. This is a 23.05% increase. November saw the greatest monthly level of CPO imports. RBD palmolein imports into India rose from 1.27 lt in October to 2.02 lt in November, a 58.07% rise.
In November, India imported 5.19 lt of CPO and 1.72 lt of RBD palmolein from Indonesia, as well as 2.83 lt of CPO and 29,900 tonnes of RBD palmolein from Malaysia. Mehta claimed that too much RBD palmolein importation hurts domestic refiners and that the present import tariff differential of 7.5% between crude palm oil (CPO) (5%) and refined oil (12.5%) favors the importation of refined palmolein rather than CPO. He said that during the just-finished oil year 2021–2022, palmolein imports rose by 168% and that RBD palmolein imports exceeded 2 lt in November alone.
According to SEA, the government should raise the import duty on RBD palmolein from 12.5% to 20% in order to generate a 15% duty gap between it and CPO palmolein. This would help imports of palmolein decline and be replaced by imports of CPO. Mehta claimed that it would not have an impact on overall imports into the nation or the price of edible oils, but it would help increase capacity utilization and job creation. The total amount of imported palm oil rose to 11.41 lt in November 2022–23 from 5.39 lt in November 2021–22, while imports of soft oils fell to 3.87 lt from 5.99 lt in November 2022–23. In 2022–23, palm oil’s share rose to 75% from 47% in 2021–22, while soft oils dropped to 25% from 53% in 2021–22.
India imported 2.29 lt of crude soy oil in November compared to 3.34 lt in October, a 31.42 percent decrease. Argentina (1.51 lt) and Brazil were the top exporters of crude soybean degummed oil to India (78,229 tonnes). In November 2021, India purchased 4.74 lt of crude soyabean oil. India brought in 1.25 liters of crude sunflower oil in November 2021. Vegetable oils, both edible and non-edible, were imported by India in November 2022–23 at a rate of 15.45 lt, up from 11.73 lt in November 2021–22, a 10.64 percent increase. However, 13.96 lt of vegetable oils were imported in October 2022.