Edible oil imports rose 31 per cent to 12.05 lakh tonnes in July amid a fall in global prices of palm, soybean and sunflower oils since June, according to industry data. The import of edible oils stood at 9.17 lakh tonnes in the same month last year.
In a statement on Friday, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) said the import of vegetable oils, comprising edible and non-edible oils, in July this year rose 24 per cent to 1,214,353 tonnes.
In the year-ago period, it stood at 9,80,624 tonnes in July 2021. The oil marketing year runs from November to October.
During November 2021 to July 2022 period, the imports of edible oils rose to 96,95,305 tonnes from 93,70,147 tonnes in the year-ago period.
Out of the total imports, the quantity of refined palm oil stood at 11,44,496 tonnes, crude palm oil at 36,59,699 tonnes, crude soyabean oil at 33,30,556 tonnes and crude sunflower oil at 15,03,627 tonnes.
In the first nine months of 2021-22 oil marketing year, the import of refined palm oil jumped to 11,44,496 tonnes from 43,271 tonnes in the year-ago period.
During the same period, the import of non-edible oils fell 2 per cent to 2,79,688 tonnes compared to 2,84,489 tonnes in the year-ago period.
"The overall import of vegetable oils during first nine months of oil year 2021-22, November 2021-July 2022 reported at 99,74,993 tonnes compared to 96,54,636 tonnes during the same period of last year," it said.
As on August 1, 2022, the total stock of edible oils increased by 48,000 tonnes to 23.04 lakh tonnes from 22.56 lakh tonnes as on July 1.
SEA highlighted that the international prices of edible oils have fallen sharply in the last two months. Palm oil rates are down by USD 625 per tonne while soybean oil prices have come down by USD 370 per tonne and sunflower oil by USD 450 per tonne.
"The local price also moved in downward tandem in the last two months. RBD palmolein wholesale price reduced by over Rs 25,000 per tonne while refined soybean oil was down by Rs 24,000 per tonne and sunflower oil by nearly Rs 20,000 per tonne," SEA said.
According to the association, rupee depreciation since March and high freight for palm oil shipments partially restricted the passing on of full cost reduction benefit to importers and consumers.
Indonesia and Malaysia are the major suppliers of palm oil to India. Russia, Ukraine and Argentina are major suppliers of sunflower oil to the country while soyabean oil comes from Brazil and Argentina.