India's edible oil imports for the year to October 2018 may be nearly flat on 2017 as a weaker rupee adds to the impact of a tax hike on the country's most imported edible oil, industry body Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA) said, revising down earlier forecasts.
Refiners are still able to import soft oils such as Soybean Oil and Sunflower Oil at a profit, but imports of palm, which attracts the country's biggest import duty, have been hard hit, SEA said.
SEA had reduced its forecast for edible oil imports for the current marketing year to end-October, originally at 15.8 million to 16 million tonnes, by about half a million tonnes.
This would put imports at just over 2017's 15.1 million tonnes. Palm Oil accounts for more than half of India's total edible oil imports.
India raised import taxes on crude and refined Palm Oil in March to the highest level in over a decade to support local farmers.
Malaysian Palm exports to India slumped nearly 40% in April on-month, while shipments in the first half of May fell to 15,000 tonnes from 89,000 tonnes, cargo surveyor data showed.
India's rupee has fallen about 4% since the start of April due to a broadly firmer U.S. dollar and rising oil prices.