Vegetable oil imports rise 17% in February

India imported 17 per cent more vegetable oils during February 2017 at 1,270,443 tonnes as compared to 1,082,009 tonnes in the corresponding month last year. However, so far in the current oil year, vegetable oil imports have declined by a modest 8 per cent to 4,680,451 tonnes for the November 2016-February 2017 period as against 5,098,400 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. Imports have reduced due to a good kharif oilseeds crop and, thus, better domestic availability of edible oils. Also, the currency crunch due to demonetisation hampered consumer purchases in the first quarter of the oil year (November to October), noted the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) in a statement issued recently. The total stock has increased to 1,965,000 tonnes from 1,730,000 tonnes in February, 2017, thanks to higher imports during February 2017. The overall stock as on March 1, 2017, has increased by 235,000 tonnes as compared to February 1, 2017. India’s monthly requirement is about 1,650,000 tonnes and operates at 30 days stock, against which currently the holding stock is over 1,965,000 tonnes equal to 36 days of requirement. Notably, the import of non-edible oils in the November 2016 – February 2017 period is reported at 1,07,952 tonnes as compared to 35,458 tonnes during the same period last year, indicating a multiple times rise. However, during the four-month period, the import of refined oil (RBD Palmolein) has further increased to 916,438 tonnes from 791,352 tonnes in the same period last year, while crude oil imports decreased to 3,656,061 tonnes from 4,271,590 tonnes during the same period last year.