Imports of edible oil from India rose 23 percent to 9,83,608 tons in February, mainly due to a surge in shipments of refined palm oil.
Edible oil imports amounted to 7,96568 tons in the same month last year.
Total imports of vegetable oils (edible and non-edible) rose to 10,19,997 tons compared to 8,38,607 tons in February 2021, the SEA of India said in a statement.
Of the total imports of vegetable oils, the imports of edible oils increased from 7,96,568 tons in February 2021 to 9,83,608 tons.
Imports of refined palm oil increased from 6,000 tons to 3,02,928 tons.
Imports of non-edible oil fell to 36,389 tons last month, from 42,039 tons in the same period a year ago.
Total vegetable oil imports during the first four months of the 2021-2022 oil year, which runs from November to October, rose 7 percent to 46,91,158 tons, compared to 43,94,760 tons in the same period of the previous year.
Imports of RBD Palmolein increased from 21,601 tons to 5,19,450 tons, according to the SEA.
By contrast, crude palm oil (CPO) imports fell from 24,89,105 tons to 15,62,639 tons, it added.
India usually imports about 1.75-2 lakh tons of sunflower oil per month.
“The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted the supply of sunflower oil. About 1.52,000 tons arrived in India in February 2022 and a similar amount (will) probably arrive in March 2022, as ships departing before the war would arrive (at) Indian ports in the current month,” the association said.
If the war continues, sunflower oil supplies could decline in later months, the SEA said.
“However, the sunflower oil shortage could be made up for by increased domestic availability of soybean and mustard oil,” it added.
SEA pointed out that an announcement by the Indonesian government on March 9 to raise the cap on domestic sales from 20 percent to 30 percent will further reduce Indonesia’s export volume and reduce global export inventories.
“These two factors have led to high volatility in edible oil prices in the international market in recent days,” the statement said.
The Treasury Department has cut agricultural infrastructure and development duties on crude palm oil imports to 5 percent from the current 7.5 percent, increasing the excise tax differential between CPO and RBD oils to 8.25 percent from the current 7.5 percent. the previous 5.5 percent.
“This provided some relief to the beleaguered refining industry, but not enough,” the SEA said.
Indonesia and Malaysia are major suppliers of palm oil to India. Crude degummed soybean oil is mainly imported from Argentina and Brazil, while crude sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.