New Straits Times

Edible oil imports seen at record high in S. Asia


SINGAPORE: South Asia’s edible oil imports are set to climb to an all-time high this year as lower production in the region coincides with rising consumptio­n to drive buying of mainly palm and soyabean oils from elsewhere, said industry officials.

As the region’s per capita income grows, households are able to buy more products containing vegetable oils. Ahead of the Price Outlook Conference, here, this week, estimates from leading industry officials showed India, the world’s biggest vegetable oil buyer, is expected to purchase 15.5 million tonnes in the current marketing year to October.

That would mean a 2.9 per cent rise from 15.06 million tonnes imported a year earlier. Imports are set to make up two-thirds of India’s edible oil demand, estimated this year at around 23 million tonnes.

India primarily imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Oil importer Sunvin Group estimated India would buy 9.8 million tonnes of palm oil in the current marketing year, 3.1 million tonnes of soyabean oil, 2.3 million tonnes of sunflower oil and 300,000 tonnes of canola oil.

Pakistan’s edible oil purchases are forecast by Rasheed Janmohamme­d, former chairman of Pakistan Edible Oil Refiners Associatio­n, to climb 6.7 per cent to a record of 3.2 million tonnes this year, from three million tonnes a year before.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh is forecast to import 2.35 million tonnes of mainly palm and soybean oils in 2017/18, up 9.3 per cent from 2.15 million tonnes a year ago, according to the United States Department of Agricultur­e. Sri Lanka’s vegoil purchases, mainly palm oil, are estimated to rise to 210,000 tonnes this year, up from 200,000 in 2016/17, according to USDA estimates.

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