Palm oil imports surged by 36.17 per cent to 8,34,444 tonnes in January 2018 on increased shipment of crude palm oil (CPO), industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said today.
India, the world’s leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 6,12,762 tonne palm oil in January 2017. The country’s total vegetable oil imports increased by over 25 per cent to 12.91 lakh tonnes in January this year from 10.28 lakh tonnes in the year-ago.
The share of palm oil is more than 60 per cent of the country’s total vegetable oil imports. Among palm oil products, import of CPO increased by 63.23 per cent to 6,72,762 tonnes in January this year from 4,12,140 tonnes in the same period last year.
The shipment of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) also increased to 11,018 tonne from 3,999 tonne, while that of RBD palmolein declined to 1,50,664 tonne from 1,96,623 tonne in the said period.
The industry body has expressed concern that viability of local refineries processing CPO are hit because of nil import duty on by-products like PFAD and palm stearin.
“Palm Stearin and PFAD are generated to the extent of 25 per cent to CPO. Import duty on actual user condition on these by-products is nil and their import is increasing up by leaps and bounds seriously affecting the viability of refineries engaged in processing of CPO,” it said in a statement.
Among soft oil, import of soybean oil increased to 2,24,870 tonnes in January 2018 from 1,66,573 tonnes in the year-ago. The shipment of sunflower oil, however, declined to 1,70,831 tonnes from 2,14,872 tonnes, while that of rapeseed oil to 16,702 from 17,878 tonnes in the said period.
In the Budget 2018, the government hiked import duty on crude cottonseed oil, olive oil and safflower oil to 30 per cent from 12.5 per cent, and on refined oils to 35 per cent in line with other crude and refined oils.
Also, the government has announced 10 per cent social welfare surcharge on all imported goods including edible oils and this will increase marginally the import duty, the SEA said.moneycontrol