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MUMBAI: India’s palm oil and soyoil imports plunged by nearly a quarter in June from a month ago, a leading trade body said in a statement on Tuesday, as refiners postponed purchases anticipating a reduction in the import tax.

The country’s palm oil imports in the month dropped 24 from a month ago to 587,467 tonnes, while soyoil purchases fell by 23 percent to 206,262 tonnes, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

India’s sunflower oil imports in June were steady at 175,702 compared to 175,759 tonnes in May, it added.

India buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia while other oils, including soyoil and sunflower oil, are sourced from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.

“Refiners were postponing purchases last month anticipating government moves to bring down prices. As expected, the government cut the import tax on palm oil,” said a Mumbai-based vegetable oils dealer with a global trading firm.

In the last week of June, India allowed imports of refined palm oil and also cut the import tax on crude palm oil to lower domestic prices that have nearly doubled in the past year, hitting consumers already stung by record fuel prices and reduced incomes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Palm oil imports are likely to jump above 750,000 tonnes in July as buyers are aggressively making purchases, the Mumbai-based dealer said.

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