13/05/2009 (Bloomberg) - India, the world’s biggest buyer of vegetable oils after China, may import a record quantity in the year to Oct. 31 because of higher demand and duty-free purchases amid a decline in local oilseed output.
Imports may increase to 8 million metric tons in the 12- month period, up from an earlier estimate of 7.5 million tons, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India said in an e-mailed statement today.
Increased purchases by India may further boost palm oil prices that have risen 89 percent in the past six months. India relies on overseas purchases to meet almost half its cooking oil demand.
Palm oil for July delivery on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose for a second day, gaining as much as 2.7 percent to 2,799 ringgit ($795) a metric ton. It traded at 2,792 ringgit at 4:23 p.m. local time.
India’s oilseed output may drop to 28.12 million tons in the year ending June, down from 29.75 million tons a year earlier, the agriculture ministry said yesterday.
India’s palm oil imports rose 68 percent to 3.37 million tons in the six months ended April 30 from a year earlier, the association said.
India’s vegetable oil purchases in April more than doubled to 699,396 tons from 347,332 tons a year earlier, the association said.
Vegetable oil imports in the six months ended April 30 surged 64 percent from a year-ago period to 4.29 million tons, the association said.
India’s government in March scrapped a 20 percent duty on imports of crude soybean oil four months after it was imposed to shield oilseed growers.