Vegetable oil imports, including edible and non-edible oils, fell 13 per cent to about 9.12 lakh tonnes in April due to lower imports of crude palm oil, according to industry data.
The Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) said in a statement that vegetable oil imports were 9,11,846 tonnes in April 2022 as against 10,53,347 tonnes in April 2021.
Edible oil imports fell from 10,29,912 tonnes to 9,00,085 tonnes and non-edible oil shipments declined from 23,435 tonnes to 11,761 tonnes.
Imports of crude palm oil in April fell to 4,14,829 tonnes from 6,89,731 tonnes in the same month last year.
In the first six months of this oil marketing year (November 2021 to April 2022), vegetable oil imports increased by 4% to 67,07,574 tons. It was 64,28,350 tonnes in the same period of the previous oil marketing year.
The oil marketing year runs from November to October.
“Indonesia has banned the export of palm oil since April 28, 2022, which has confused the pitch and made life difficult for vulnerable consumers around the world,” the SEA said in a statement.
India imports about 600,000-6,50,000 tons of palm oil per month from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and other countries.
Of which, Indonesia supplies about 300,000 tons, mainly RBD palmolin and similar amounts come from Malaysia and the remaining 10 percent comes from Thailand and other countries.
“It is expected that Indonesia will lift the embargo before the end of May, but the situation will worsen if Indonesia continues to ban exports of palm oil products due to insufficient supply from other sources,” the SEA said.
In the first six months of the current year, imports of refined oil (all refined palm oil) increased by 9,20,947 tons from 24,101 tons in the same period last year.
From November 2021 to April 2022, palm oil imports fell to 32,25,761 tonnes from 3,792,354 tonnes a year ago, while soft oil imports increased from 2,477,884 tonnes to 33,17,242 tonnes, mainly due to higher oil imports.
According to the SEA, in the oil marketing year under review, India imported about 11.10 million tons of sunflower oil, mainly from Ukraine (842,956 tons), Russia (210,905 tons) and Argentina (56,426 tons).
“Since March 27, 2022, there have been no shipments from Ukraine. In April, imports of sunflower oil were reported at only 54,426 tonnes.
The high price and low availability of sunflower oil in the international market and high domestic prices have reduced the demand and use of sunflower oil in India, ”the SEA said.
This deficit is being partially replaced by other edible oils such as palmolin, soybean oil, peanut oil and rice bran oil, it added.