India exported 12.51 lakh tonnes of oilmeal during the first six month period of 2019-20 financial year, declined 17% from 14.99 lakh tonnes reported in the same period last year, as per the data compiled by the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA).
According to the data, the sharpest fall is seen in the soybean meal exports at 347,785 tonnes, which is down from 417,157 tonnes for the period.
For September alone, soybean meal exports tumbled to mere 19,152 tonnes as against 95,450 tonnes in the preceding month, the SEA's provisional data revealed.
Dip in exports is primarily attributed to the disparity in export of oil meals, specifically soybean meal due to higher Minimum Support Price (MSP) in the local market. This makes the domestic oil meals expensive in international market as compared with other origins, SEA noted.
Soybean meal and castor seed meal prices hovered at the higher end in September 2019 as compared with what was seen in the same month last year. The soybean oil prices quoted at $446 per tonne, FOB Indian port, which was $367 a tonne last year. Similarly, castor seed meal prices also jumped to $102 per tonne, as against $91 in the same month last year. However, the currency exchange rate remained stable with Rs 71.3 a dollar in September 2019 as against Rs 72.28 a dollar in the same month last year.
This shows that the dip in exports is more due to the domestic price factor than other macro economic and trade factors.
Among the countries which imported less from India included Vietnam, which reduced its oil meal imports from 2.93 lakh tonnes to 1.7 lakh tonnes (down 42% YoY). Thailand imported about 60,000 tonnes (or down 33% YoY) of less oilmeals at 125,472 tonnes as compared to 187,159 tonnes. However, South Korea imported 505,290 tonnes of oilmeals, higher from 463,145 tonnes reported last year.
These oil meals are primarily used as the poultry and animal feed in importing nations.