India's edible oil import bill rose 34.18 per cent to Rs 1.57 lakh crore in the oil year ending October 2022, while in volume terms it rose 6.85 per cent to 140.3 lakh tonnes, industry body SEA said on Monday.
India, the world's leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 131.3 lakh tonnes of edible oils in the 2020-21 oil year (November-October) for Rs 1.17 lakh crore in the previous year, according to the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA).
Import gradually increased during the first two quarters and it slowed down in the third quarter.
However, it again increased in the fourth quarter due to the lifting of a ban on palm oil by Indonesia and a sharp decline in international prices which boosted buying from India, it said.
According to SEA, high volatility in palm oil prices this year affected India's palm oil buying.
In March-April for a brief period, palm oil was as expensive as soft oils. Its availability was further affected in May-June by Indonesia's decision to ban exports. As expected, India's palm oil buying plunged and import of soft oil rose, it said.
As a result, there was a decrease in palm oil import at 79.15 lakh tonnes during the 2021-22 oil year, when compared with 83.21 lakh tonnes in the previous year, while soft oil import rose to 61.15 lakh tonnes this year, from 48.12 lakh tonnes in the previous year, it said in a statement.
Among palm oil products, SEA said import of RBD palmolein saw more than two times jump to 18.41 lakh tonnes in 2021-22, as against 6.86 lakh tonnes in the previous year.
Whereas, import of crude palm oil (CPO) declined 20 per cent to 59.94 lakh tonnes as against 74.91 lakh tonne, while that of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) dropped to 80,000 tonnes from 1,43,000 tonnes in the said period.
Among soft oils, the import of soyabean oil increased sharply to 41.71 lakh tonnes this year from 28.66 lakh tonnes in 2020-21, in the absence of lesser supply of Sunflower oil in the previous year, SEA said in a statement.
Similarly, the import of sunflower oil rose marginally to 19.44 lakh tonnes this year from 18.94 lakh tonnes in the previous year.
As on November 1, there was an opening stock of 24.55 lakh tonnes of edible oils in the country. India needs about 19 lakh tonnes of edible oils per month and currently operates at 40 days stock which is the highest inventory held by India.
Indonesia and Malaysia are the major suppliers of RBD Palmolein and CPO to India.