Import of crude palm oil down, RBD palmolein shipments up in January

Elvera Bartels

Import of RBD palmolein went up by 459 per cent in January compared with December and that of crude palm oil (CPO) declined by 23 per cent.

According to Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) data, India imported 1.34 lakh tonnes (lt) of RBD palmolein during January against 24,000 tonnes in December in r November 2021-October 22 oil year, recording a growth of 459 per cent. India had imported only 2,701 tonnes of RBD palmolein in January 2021.

Import of CPO came down to 4.07 lt during January against 5.28 lt in December 2021 showing a decline of 22.82 per cent. India had imported 7.67 lt of CPO in January 2021.

BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA, said the reduction in effective import duty on palmolein (refined palm) from 19.25 per cent to 13.75 per cent without simultaneous reduction in import duty on CPO, with effect from December 20, has reduced the effective duty difference from 11 per cent to 5.5 per cent. This has led to the increased imports of refined palmolein at the cost of CPO, which is the raw material for domestic refineries.

Q1 of Oil Year

Import of RBD palmolein increased to 2.16 lt during the first quarter of the oil year 2021-22 against 15,601 tonnes in year-ago period. CPO imports declined to 14.12 lt during the first three months of 2021-22 against 21.05 lt.

Mehta said a large quantity of RBD palmolein of 8-9 lt is likely to arrive during January-March, replacing much of CPO, in view of the reduction in duty difference and also since RBD palmolein is freely allowed at lower duty till March 31. There is a wide disparity to the tune of ₹6,000-8,000 a tonne of processing, he said.

Stating that the increase in the shipment of RBD palmolein is threatening the survival of domestic palm oil refiners, he said Indian refiners have a heavy disparity, and this will compel them to close down the palm oil refinery, if no corrective steps are taken by the Government to increase duty difference at least to earlier level.

Palm oil vs soft oils

Share of import of palm oil (including CPO and RBD palmolein) in the total edible oil basket declined to 46 per cent during the first three months of the oil year 2021-22 against 62 per cent in the year-ago period. e share of soft oils in the total edible oil basket increased to 54 per cent durom 38 per cent i

Mehta attributed the increase in the share of soft oils to the higher import of soyabean oil during the period. India imported 12.57 lt of soyabean oil against 6.62 lt in the same period of 2020-21, registering a growth of 90 per cent.

Major suppliers

Malaysia and Indonesia are the major suppliers of palm oil to India. During the first three months of 2021-22, Malaysia supplied 9.40 lt of CPO and 86,355 tonnes of RBD palmolein to India. This was followed by Indonesia at 4 lt of CPO and 1.30 lt of RBD palmolein.

India imported 8.45 lt of crude soyabean degummed oil from Argentina, and 2.91 lt from Brazil.

The country imported 6.02 lt of crude sunflower oil from Ukraine and 88,323 tonnes from Russia during the period.

Stock position

As on February 1, the stock of edible oils at various ports was estimated at 6.54 lt (CPO 2.30 lt, RBD palmolein 1.20 lt, degummed soyabean oil 1.50 lt, crude sunflower oil 1.50 lt and rapeseed oil 4,000 tonnes) and pipeline stock at 12.08 lt.

The total stock has increased by 1.42 lt to 18.62 lt as on February 1 from 17.20 lt as on January 1.

Import price

The CIF price of RBD palmolein stood at $1,490 a tonne in January as against $1,375 a tonne in December. CIF prices of CPO stood at $1,510 a tonne ($1,420 a tonne), crude soyabean oil at $1,506 a tonne ($1,480 a tonne), and crude sunflower oil at $1,475 a tonne ($1,406 a tonne).

Vegoils import

Import of vegetable oils (includes edible oils and non-edible oils) during stood at 12.70 lt in January 2022 against 10.96 lt in January 2021, recording a growth of 16 per cent. This included 12.51 lt of edible oils and 18,802 tonnes of non-edible oils.

The overall import of vegetable oils during first quarter of Oil Year 2021-22, stood at 36.71 lt when compared with 35.56 lt during the corresponding period of the previous oil year, recording a growth of 3.2 per cent.

Published on


February 14, 2022

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