India's edible oil imports highest in 11 months at 15.17 lakh tonnes in July: SEA

India's edible oil imports are showing a sign of revival as total shipments in July remained highest in the last 11 months at 15.17 lakh tonnes, trade body SEA said on Friday.

India, world's leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 13.47 lakh tonnes of edible oils in July 2019.

"Import of edible oil in July was showing revival sign as pipeline stock which was reduced in April-May 2020 due to lower import is being partially filled up," Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) said.

Edible oil imports rose 13 per cent to 15.17 lakh tonnes on a year-on-year basis. "This is the highest import in the last 11 months of the oil year 2019-20," the trade body said.

Much of the imports were palm oils as total shipments rose to 8.24 lakh tonnes in July this year from 8.12 lakh tonnes a year ago.

Among palm oils, only Crude Palm Oil (CPO) and Crude Palm Kernel Oil (CPKO) were imported in July. The import of RBD Palmolein has declined drastically after it was placed on the restricted list from January 8 this year, it said.

The trade body said soyabean imports also increased to 4.84 lakh tonnes in July this year from Rs 3.19 lakh tonnes in the same month previous year. Sunflower oil imports rose marginally to 2.08 lakh tonnes from 2 lakh tonnes in the said period.

"In the lockdown period, there was a spurt in demand from households in consumer packs for sunflower and soybean oils, which is evident by the increase in their import," SEA said.

However, total imports from November 2019 to July 2020 of the current oil year declined by 11 per cent to 95.69 lakh tonnes from 10.80 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period mainly due to reduction in import of RBD Palmolein by 82 per cent, it added.

The oil year runs from November to October. As on August 1, there were 15.35 lakh tonnes of stock lying at various ports across the country, higher than 10.80 lakh tonnes as on July 1. The stock has reduced in the last three months mainly due to lower import of edible oil.

India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oil, including soybean oil from Argentina. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.

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