India's vegetable oils import rose 26% to 14.12 lakh tonne last month on sharp jump in shipments of refined palm oil, the highest since May 2013, according to latest data from the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA).
Imports of vegetable oils (edible and non-edible) stood at 11.19 lakh tonne in July last year. Edible oil import increased to 13.47 lakh tonne from 10.53 lakh tonne, while non-edible oil import fell to 64,119 tonne from 65,825 tonne, SEA said in a statement.
During November 2018 to July 2019 period, the overall import of vegetable oils went up 5% to 112.8 lakh tonne against 107.6 lakh tonne in the corresponding period of the previous year. Oil year runs from November to October.
SEA said RBD palmolein import was at highest level since May 2013.
"During the last few months, due to duty advantage given to Malaysia for palmolein under India-Malaysia CECA Agreement, the country is flooded with RBD palmolein following reduction of duty difference from 10 per cent to 5% between crude palm oil (CPO) and palmolein sourced from Malaysia with effect from January 1, 2019," the association said.
This has seriously affected working of domestic refiners of CPO and capacity utilization has further reduced, it added.
Till July of the current oil year, import of refined oil (RBD palmolein) increased to 20.9 lakh tonne from 14.95 lakh tonnes in the same period of the previous oil year. In contrast, total import of crude oils (palm and others) declined to 87.13 lakh tonne from 89.58 lakh tonne.
"During December 2018, the share of Refined (RBD palmolein) was just 10%, where as now in July 2019 it has increased to 20 per cent," SEA said.
In last one year, prices of palm oils have gone down by 10-16 per cent in global markets, it added.