Vegetable oil imports increased by 22% from November through March

Even though shipments into the country climbed by 22% during that time, the palm group of oils remained to dominate the vegetable oil import basket, making up 63% of all imports from November 2022 to March 2023 of the current oil year to October. Data from the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) show that the percentage of the palm group of oils has increased this season compared to soft oils, which commanded a 53 percent share of the imports the previous season. The overall amount of edible oil imported between November 2022 and March 2023, according to SEA, was 6.98 million tonnes (mt), up from 5.64 mt during the same time last year.

However, non-edible oil shipments practically fell to 79,828 tonnes from 1.52 lakh tonnes a year earlier. Because the price of crude and refined palm oil has steadily risen above $1,000 per tonne since February, vegetable oil imports grew by 6% in March, the smallest increase this season. The number of imports in March was 1.13 mt, up from 1.05 mt in the previous year, although the season’s greatest cargo of non-edible oils was 36,693 tonnes (vs. 52,872 tonnes in the previous year).

Imports of palm oil rose by 24% to 7.28 lakh tonnes (5.28 lakh tonnes) in March, while soyabean oil exports fell by 27% to 2.59 lakh tonnes (3.56 lakh tonnes). The amount of sunflower oil imported into the nation decreased by 5% to 1.48 lakh tonnes (1.57 lakh tonnes). The increase in RBD palm olein imports, which accounted for 22% of shipments of palm group oils and were robbing the domestic industry of the use of its capacity, alarmed SEA.

It recommended increasing from the current 7.5% to at least 15% the duty differential between crude palm oil and refined palm oil. While overall stocks were at 3.45 mt, increased imports of edible oil have left an estimated 9.78 lakh tonnes at ports. The stockpiles have grown by 22,000 tonnes since March 1. RBD palm olein imports have reached 9.89 lakh tonnes this season so far, while shipments of crude palm oil have reached 5.99 mt (4.87 mt). Sunflower oil made up 1.11 mt (1.05 mt) of the total, while soy oil made up 1.46 mt (1.93 mt).

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