In 2022–2023, imports of edible oil could reach 17 MT

The current oil year (November 2022–October 2023), according to trade group Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), is expected to see a record 17 million tonne (MT) of edible oil imports into India. Exports totaled 14 MT last year. As of 2016–17, when the nation imported 15.1 MT of oil, the volume of imported cooking oil is anticipated to be at its highest level ever, according to SEA. Rising domestic demand and higher imports as a result of lower import duties are the two factors that the SEA attributed to the fall in world pricing.

In the current oil year’s November-September period, India’s imports of palm oil from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand increased by more than 29% to 9.8 MT compared to the same period last year. Since the beginning of the current oil year, palm oil has grown from 55% of all imported edible oils to 59%. A “serious threat to the domestic edible oil refining capability” is posed by the rise of refined palmolein oil, according to SEA.

Despite sufficient domestic supply, according to industry sources, a dramatic decline in domestic edible oil prices has pushed up demand, and per capita consumption has increased as a result. The trade organization has reported a sharp increase in the import of RBD, or refined palm oil, which currently accounts for nearly 25% of all imports of palm. In a note, SEA claimed that the spike “has severely impacted the refining industry, which is grappling with massive overcapacity.”

In September 2023, retail mustard oil prices were down 18.44% from the same month the previous year. Due to a drop in the price of edible oil on a global scale and a rise in imports, inflation in refined oil (sunflower, soybean, and palm) also fell by 22.6% last month compared to the same period in the previous year. India imports about 56% of its about 24 to 25 MT yearly edible oil use. Oils make up a significant portion of the domestic output, accounting for among others for 40% of mustard, 24% of soybeans, and 7% of groundnuts.

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