India's Palm oil imports declined by 2.31% to 8,15,236 tonne in January from the year-ago period, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said.
India, the world's leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 8,34,444 tonne palm oil in January 2018.
The country's total vegetable oil imports declined 3% to 12.75 lakh tonne in January this year compared to 12.91 lakh tonne in the year-ago period.
The share of palm oil is more than 60% in the country's total vegetable oil imports.
According to the SEA, the shipments of palmolein, especially from Malaysia, have increased due to cut in import duty on palm oils, which has reduced the effective duty difference between crude palm oil (CPO) and RBD Palmolein to just 5 percent against previous 10%.
"This has resulted into sharp increase in import of RBD Palmolein to 1,67,429 tonne in January from 1,30,459 tonne in December 2018, up by 28 percent," it said in a statement.
This is likely to increase in coming months considering the shipments lined up from Malaysia for export of RBD Palmolein to India, the SEA noted.
Among palm oil products, import of RBD palmolein increased to 1,67,429 tonne in January this year from 1,50,664 tonne a year ago, as per the SEA data.
But the shipment of CPO declined to 6,45,308 tonne from 6,72,762 tonne, while that of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) too dropped to 2,499 tonne from 11,018 tonne in the said period.
Among soft oil, import of sunflower oil increased to 2,00,027 tonne in January this year from 1,70,831 tonne in the year-ago period.
The shipment of soyabean oil fell sharply to 1,85,906 tonne from 2,24,870 tonne, while that of rapeseed-mustard oil declined to 9,434 tonne from 16,702 tonne in the said period.
As on January 1, about 21.10 lakh tonne of vegetable oil stock is lying at ports and in pipelines. The country's monthly requirement is about 19 lakh tonne, the SEA said.
India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oil, including soyabean oil, from Latin America. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.