India‘s palm oil imports in September fell 26% from the previous month to 834,797 metric tons, the lowest in three months, as higher inventories prompted refiners to curtail purchases, a trade body said on Friday.
Imports of soyoil edged 0.1% higher to 358,557 tons and those of sunflower oil were down about 17.8% at 300,732 tons, the Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.
Vegetable oil imports fell about 17% to 1.55 million tons from last month’s record purchases of 1.87 million tons, it added.
“India imported more than necessary during July and August, but retail demand in the country is weak. Refiners are now struggling to sell imported oil,” said a Mumbai-based edible oil trader.
In recent months, India has emerged as a primary destination for surplus oil supplies due to its lower import duty of 5.5% on crude palm oil, crude soybean oil, and crude sunflower oil, said B.V. Mehta, executive director of the SEA.
Domestic stocks of vegetable oil jumped to 3.7 million tons by Sept. 1 from 2.4 million a year ago, according to the SEA.
India’s vegetable oil imports in October could further decrease due to weak retail demand and the commencement of crushing the new season soybean crop, said a New-Delhi-based trader with a global trade house.
India buys palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, while it imports soyoil and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.