Edible oil imports may rise about 16 per cent to 13.5 million tonnes (mt) this year, ending October, due to cheaper shipments from Indonesia and lower domestic crushing, industry body Solvent Extractors Association has said.
The country is estimated to have imported 11.6 mt of edible oil in the 2013-14 marketing year (November -October).
“Till May, edible oil imports were 7.77 mt. By October-end, I won't be surprised to see imports touching 13.5 mt,” SEA Executive Director B V Mehta told PTI.
Imports are likely to increase by almost two mt, taking advantage of cheaper shipments from Indonesia and Malaysia, which have imposed zero export duty on palm products to clear surplus stock, he said.
The high price of soyabean and lower realisations also led to lower crushing and lesser availability of edible oil in the market, resulting in higher imports of soybean oil and sunflower oil, he added. Mehta said that stocks of imported edible oils at ports have built up. The inventory at present is more than the monthly requirement of about 1.6 mt.
The country meets 60 per cent of its annual edible oil demand via imports. Much of the imports comprise palm oils.
India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia and a small quantity of crude soft oils, including soyabean oil, from Latin America.
Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.