With a surge in demand for edible oil after lockdown, India registers highest edible oil import in July 2020.
SEA Reports 13% Jump in Edible Oil Imports
Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) reported the highest increase in import of edible oil in July. The trade body noted a jump of 13 per cent in edible oil import to 15.17 lakh tonnes on a year-on-year basis. The Mumbai based association said that the increase would compensate for the low imports during April- May period.
Highest Contribution from Palm Oil Imports
SEA mentioned that the soybean oil imports increased to 4.84 lakh tonnes in July from last years 3.19 lakh tonnes. While soybean oil imports surged 52% from a year ago, sunflower oil imports increased by 4% to 2,08,747 tonnes. Apart from this, the import of palm oil registered the most significant increase as its shipments were 8.24 lakh tonnes as against 8.12 lakh tonnes a year ago. However, RBD Palmolein imports have declined after imposition of restrictions on imports of refined palm oil in January.
The trade body attributed the jump in palm oil imports to increased demand from hotels and restaurants as restrictions eased.
India imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia while demand for soy oil and sunflower oil is met by Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, and Russia. The country bought 13.47 lakh tonnes of edible oils in July 2019.
SEA Opposes Quantitative Restrictions on Imports
SEA has opposed the SOPA’s proposal of imposing quantitative restrictions on the import of sunflower and soybean soil. It said that the limitation would flood the markets with palm oil, hammering the demand for domestic oilseeds. Further, it noted that lowering soybean seed prices will harm the interests of the soybean growing farmer too. Suggesting the solution, it said that imposing import duty on all oils will ensure that farmers get a price above MSP from markets and government agencies.
In all, the drop in stockpiles of edible oil due to disruption by COVID in March and April increases imports.