According to six dealers, India’s edible oil imports fell to their lowest level in 16 months in October as increased supplies caused refiners to reduce purchases of palm oil, soy oil, and sunflower oil.
Lower purchases by the world’s largest vegetable oil importer might result in increased supplies of palm oil in major suppliers Indonesia and Malaysia, dragging on benchmark futures.
They would also put pressure on US soyoil futures and Black Sea sunflower oil prices.
According to average dealer estimates, India’s total edible oil imports in October decreased to 1 million metric tons, a 33% decrease from the previous month and the lowest since June 2022.
Imports of palm oil plummeted 14% in the month to 715,000 tons, the lowest level in four months.
According to Rajesh Patel, managing partner of edible oil trader and broker GGN Research, aggressive purchasing drove India’s edible oil imports to 5 million tons from July to September, but demand was insufficient to absorb the imports.
“Stocks jumped due to higher imports, which are now compelling refiners to reduce their imports,” he said.
Domestic vegetable oil stockpiles increased to 3.6 million tons by Oct. 1 from 2.6 million a year earlier, according to the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), which is expected to disclose statistics on October imports by mid-November.
Soyoil imports fell 63% month on month to 134,000 tons in October, the lowest level since January 2021, according to traders.
Sunflower oil imports decreased 47% to 158,000 tons, the lowest level in 7 months.
According to Sandeep Bajoria, CEO of Sunvin Group, a vegetable oil brokerage, the increasing availability of oilseeds from the summer-sown crop has reduced the requirement for edible oil imports.
India mostly imports palm oil from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, whereas Argentina, Brazil, Russia, and Ukraine import soyoil and sunflower oil.
According to dealers, India’s edible oil imports in the 2022/23 marketing year, which ended on Oct. 31, surged 17% from the previous year to a record 16.5 million tons, mainly due to higher purchases from November to January and July to September.
Palm oil imports increased 24% year on year to a record 9.8 million tons, while soyoil imports decreased 12% to 3.67 million tons.
Sunflower oil imports increased 55% to a record 3 million tons, according to dealers, since the oil had been selling at a discount to soyoil for several months.