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India’s Palm Oil Imports Surge Highest in Past Seven Months

India imported 6,60,000 tonnes of palm oil in May, up from 5,72,508 tonnes in April.

Palm Oil

In May, India’s palm oil imports reached its highest in the last seven months, jumping 15 percent from April. The country sourced the commodity from Malaysia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea amidst the curbs on Indonesian exports and sourcing, said an industry report by Reuters.

India is the world’s biggest importer of vegetable oil. India imported 6,60,000 tonnes of palm oil in May, up from 5,72,508 tonnes in April, according to the average estimate from five dealers interviewed in the report.

Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of palm oil—used in everything from margarine to shampoo—accounting for about 60% of world supply. The country typically exports around 2.5 million tonnes of palm oil products per month. On April 28, the country stopped exporting the commodity to control soaring domestic prices. The exports were allowed from May 23 but with policies to maintain domestic supplies.

The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, a trade body based in Mumbai, is likely to publish May’s import figure in mid-June.

India’s soy oil imports in May increased to 3,52,614 tonnes from 3,15,853 tonnes in April, said a government official. The imports could rise sharply in coming months, as New Delhi has allowed duty free imports of 2 million tonnes of the commodity, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm. Sunflower oil imports also jumped, to 1,23,970 tonnes, last month, from 67,788 tonnes a month earlier, the government official added.

India buys soy oil mainly from Argentina and Brazil and sunflower oil from Ukraine and Russia. However, the supply has been adversely impacted due to Russia’s military invasion to Ukraine. “As sun oil shipments from Ukraine have stopped, India is trying to import more from Russia,” shared a dealer.

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