Cooking-oil imports by India, the world’s second-biggest buyer, climbed for the second month in March as an increase in domestic prices spurred buying.
Purchases climbed to 727,706 metric tons from 435,735 tons a year earlier, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India said in an e-mailed statement today. Imports climbed 21 percent to 3.79 million tons in the five months ended March 31, it said.
Rising Indian imports may help palm oil futures in Malaysia extend a rally from the highest price in more than a year. Futures reached 3,628 ringgit ($1,187) a ton on April 10, the highest price since March 8, 2011, on concern that global cooking-oil supplies may decline as drought curbs soybean output in Brazil and Argentina.
Imports of crude palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia climbed 55 percent to 278,696 tons in March, and refined palm oil more than doubled to 186,788 tons, the association said.
“The share of refined oil is likely to increase as current Indonesian inverted duty structure will encourage larger export of refined oils over crude oil,” B.V. Mehta, executive director of the association, said in the statement. “Also, the gap between crude and refined oil has further reduced.”
Refined cooking oils bought overseas were about $30 a ton cheaper than domestic supplies, Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive officer of Mumbai-based Sunvin Group, said on April 5. Vegetable oil purchases may average 850,000 tons to 950,000 tons a month until October, he said.
Soybean oil imports rose to 100,615 tons in March from 81,131 tons a year earlier, while sunflower oil purchases climbed to 104,150 tons from 76,230 tons, the association said.
India also imported 21,526 tons of rapeseed oil, it said. Stockpiles at ports and in pipelines fell 15,000 tons to 1.45 million tons as of April 1 from a month earlier, the association said.
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