India imported a record volume of palm oil in September, the highest level ever in any one month since the country began shipping the commodity in 1966. There was also a record shipment of edible oils during September 2021 according to an industry body.
According to the latest data from the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), India imported 12.62 thousand tons of palm oil (including RBD palm oil, crude palm oil (CPO) and crude palm kernel oil during September 2021 compared to 7.5 tons in August 2021, registering A growth of 68.24%.
According to BV Mehta, CEO, palm oil imports at 12.62 lakh tons are the highest in any month since the country started importing it. The import of edible oils during the month of September 2021 recorded a new record shipment of 16.98 lakh tons in one month. Earlier in October 2015, India imported 16.51 lakh tons.
There was a big jump in the import of RBD palmolein from 1.87 thousand tons in August 2021 to 3.97 thousand tons in September 2021. India imported 8.44 thousand tons of crude palmolein (CPO) in September 2021 compared to 5.50 thousand tons in August 2021 and 19896 tons from CPKO (Crude Palm Kernel Oil). The RBD palm import also increased sharply during August and September 2021 due to the relaxation in the RBD palm import policy from July 1.
Total imports of RBD palmolein jumped by more than 50% and 6.28 thousand tons were reported in the first 11 months of the 2020-21 oil year (November-October) compared to 4.16 thousand tons in the corresponding period of the previous oil year. The import of RBD palm oil and RBD palm oil has been moved from the category of “restricted” to the category of “free” from July 1 to December 31.
Indonesia and Malaysia are the main suppliers of RBD palmolein and CPO to India. During November-September 2020-21, Malaysia exported 32.66 lakh tons of CPO and 1.82 lakh tons of RBD palmolein, followed by Indonesia with 4.35 lakh tons of RBD palmolein and 32.31 lakh tons of CPO to India. The total imports of vegetable oils during the period from November to September 2020-21 amounted to 124.70 lakh tons compared to 122.57 thousand tons in the period from November to September of 2019-20, an increase of 2%, and the import of palm oil increased to 76.27 lakh tons during November-September 2020-21 compared to 64.40 lakh tons in the corresponding period of the 2019-20 oil year. Mehta attributed this to the advantage of low service compared to soft oils.
The total share of palm oil in total edible oil imports increased to 63% during the period November-September 2020-21 compared to 54% in the corresponding period of the previous oil year.
The import of soft oils decreased to 44.58 thousand tons during the period from November to September of 2020-21 compared to 55.09 thousand tons in the corresponding period of 2019-20. Mehta attributed this to the high prices of soybean and sunflower oils in the global markets during this period. Crude rapeseed oil was re-shipped to India from August due to higher prices of local rapeseed oil (mustard oil). India imported nearly 12,000 tons and 20,215 tons of rapeseed oil during August and September respectively.
He said that the shipment is expected to increase during the next two or three months to fill the shortage of mustard oil.