Palm oil imports in India rose by 18% compared to the previous month, AgriCensus reported from information published by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA).

The country – the world’s largest edible oil importer – imported 1.17M tonnes of palm oil – consisting of refined bleached deodorised (RBD) palm olein, crude palm oil (CPO) and crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) – in September, while soft oils imports totalled 421,625 tonnes, the report said.

The increase in palm oil imports was due to a substantial price difference between palm oil and soyabean oil, with the former trading at more than US$400/tonne less in September, according to the 13 October report.

Year-on-year RBD palm olein imports were higher, with Indian buyers favouring Indonesian exporters due to more competitive prices and lower duties, the report said.

In September, India imported 716,221 tonnes and 428,211 tonnes of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia respectively, reflecting the demand for cheaper Indonesian products, AgriCensus wrote. Soyabean oil imports in India increased slightly in September, rising 7% to 261,815 tonnes and sunflower oil imports rose 18% to 159,810 tonnes.

However, overall palm oil imports had fallen in the first 11 months of the current marketing year, which began in November 2021, with palm oil imports 8% lower than the same period the previous year at 7.03M tonnes.

Soft oil imports increased 21% in the same period to 5.64M tonnes.

India’s edible oil imports in September totalled 1.59M tonnes, a 16% increase compared to the previous month.

Edible oil stock levels were at 2.44M tonnes as of 1 September, a rise of 0.5% compared to the previous month.