India’s July palm oil imports hit 7-month high as refiners boost purchases

By Rajendra Jadhav and Brijesh Patel

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s palm oil imports in July jumped 59% from the previous month to 1.08 million metric tons, the highest in seven months, as refiners took advantage of lower prices to increase purchases, a trade body said on Monday.

Higher imports by India, the world’s biggest buyer of vegetable oils, would help top producers Malaysia and Indonesia bring down stocks and support Malaysian prices.

Imports of soyoil fell by around 22% to 342,270 tons and those of sunflower oil were up 71% at 327,259 tons, the Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

India’s edible oil imports in July rose to a record 1.76 million tons as refiners built up stocks for upcoming festivals given uncertainty over supplies from the Black Sea, dealers said.

The discount of crude palm oil prices to crude soyoil widened to over $150 per ton, prompting refiners to switch to palm oil, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house.

“This trend would continue even in coming months. We are expecting around 1 million tons of imports in September,” the dealer said.

The country’s total edible oil imports in the 2022/23 marketing year ending on Oct. 31 could jump to a record 15.5 million tons, the SEA said in a statement.

India buys palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, while it imports soyoil and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)