Vegoil imports up 25% in January
India’s vegetable oil imports have reported a sharp jump of 25 per cent for January 2018 at 1.29 million tonnes (mt) compared to 1.02 mt reported in the same month last year.
According to trade sources, the jump in imports is due to two factors: the anticipation of a possible duty hike in the Budget; and export push by Malaysia by reducing the export duty.
Data compiled by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) show the cumulative vegoil imports for the first three-month period November 2017 to January 2018 of the current season (November-October) stood at 3.6 mt compared to 3.4 mt — tad up by 6 per cent on year-on-year basis.
However, according to the SEA, the duty difference between crude and refined oils, which has increased from 10.1 per cent to 11 per cent after the budget announcement, is likely to provide some more cushion to domestic refiners.
“The domestic refining sector has been suffering due to disparity in palm oil refining. The landed cost of RBD Palmolein and CPO are same. So there is a disparity when the refiners process palm. However, there is a parity when they process soft oils,” said Mehta.
SEA has also represented to the Centre that Palm Stearin and PFAD should attract the same level of duty as CPO to provide a level playing field to the domestic refiners, which, in turn, will benefit consumersby way of lower RBD Palmolein prices.
According to the SEA, the drop in the landed price of RBD Palmolein from $788 a tonne in January last year to $669 now, coupled with the reduction in currency exchange (from Rs 68 a dollar last year to Rs 63.65), encouraged larger imports of RBD Palmolein at the cost of CPO.
Imports of soyabean oil has increased in January to 2,24,870 tonnes, while that of palm oil stood at 8,34,444 tonnes.