NEW DELHI: India’s edible oil imports declined 32.44 per cent to 9,41,219 tonne in March due to government restrictions on purchase of refined palm oil from the overseas market, trade body SEA said on Monday.
India, the world’s leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 13,93,255 tonne in March last year.
The share of palm oil is more than 60 per cent of the country’s total vegetable oil imports.
As per the provisional data released by the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), there was a 90 per cent fall in import of RBD palmolein at 30,850 tonne in March this year, as compared to 3,12,673 tonne in the year-ago period.
Import of RBD (refined, bleached, deodorized) palmolein has reduced drastically as the commodity has been put on “restricted list” of trade since January 8, it said.
Putting the palm oil in a restricted category means an importer will require licence or permission for the inbound shipment.
SEA further said import of crude palm oil (CPO) and crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) have declined 38 per cent to 3,04,458 tonne during March this year from 4,89,770 tonne a year ago.
Import of soyabean oil declined marginally to 2,92,410 tonne in March this year from 2,92,925 tonne in same period last year, while that of sunflower oil to Rs 2,96,501 tonne from 2,97,887 tonne in the said period, the SEA data showed.
During the November-March period of the 2019-20 oil year, total edible oils imports declined 10 per cent to 53,91,807 tonne from 60,05,067 tonne in the year-ago period.
Oil year runs from November to October.
SEA also mentioned that it was unable to compile the data for import of non-edible oils in the current lockdown situation.
This is an interim provisional data and a complete import data will be released once the situation returns to normalcy, it added.
India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oil, including soyabean oil from Argentina. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.