Palm oil im­ports hit multi-year low in May

Financial Chronicle - - MONEY GAME - RAJENDRA JADHAV

IN­DIA’S palm oil im­ports in May plunged 38 per cent from a year ear­lier to their low­est in nearly 4-1/2 years as higher im­port tax on the trop­i­cal oil made it more ex­pen­sive, a trade body said on Thursday.

Palm oil im­ports might re­main un­der pres­sure this month as well, help­ing ri­val soft oils such as soy­oil and sun­flower oils gain mar­ket share, in­dus­try of­fi­cials told Reuters.

Lower im­ports by In­dia, the world’s big­gest vegetable oil im­porter, could weigh on Malaysian palm oil fu­tures that were trad­ing near their low­est in 22 months.

In­dia im­ported 496,478 tonnes of palm oil in May, the low­est since Fe­bru­ary 2014, the Sol­vent Ex­trac­tors' As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia (SEA) said in a state­ment .

The coun­try’s soy­oil im­ports in May jumped 16.6 per­cent from a year ago to 396,969 tonnes, while sun­flower oil im­ports more than dou­bled to 330,985 tonnes.

In­dia’s to­tal im­ports of ed­i­ble oils in May fell 7 per­cent from a year ago to 1.25 mil­lion tonnes.

“For the first time palm’s share in to­tal im­ports have come down 40 per­cent,” said B V Me­hta, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the SEA, adding, “This trend will con­tinue in the com­ing months un­less the gov­ern­ment changes the duty struc­ture.”

In March, In­dia had raised its im­port tax on crude palm oil to 44 per cent from 30 per cent and lifted the tax on re­fined palm oil to 54 per­cent from 40 per­cent. But gov­ern­ment kept the duty on soy­oil and sun­flower oil un­changed at 30 per cent.

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