MUMBAI: India’s vegetable oil imports are likely to drop 6% in the new marketing year beginning November, due to higher carryover stocks of oilseeds from the current year, a leading industry figure said on Wednesday.
India, the world’s biggest importer of vegetable oils, is likely to buy 15.6 million metric tons of cooking oils in the 2023-24 oil year, down from 16.6 million in the current year to Oct. 31, 2023, said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive of Sunvin Group, a Mumbai-based vegetable oil brokerage and consultancy firm.
The country is likely to import 9.5 million metric tons of palm oil next year against 10 million in 2022-23, he told a global conference on vegetable oils in Mumbai. Palm oil constitutes the bulk of India’s vegetable imports.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Indian refiners imported more than 1 million metric tons of palm oil in August - the second consecutive month of higher purchases to build stocks for the festival season that kicks in next month.
India buys palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
It imports soybean and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.
India is likely to buy 3.2 million metric tons of soyoil in 2023-22 against 3.5 million in 2022-23, Bajoria told the conference.
Purchases of sunflower oil are expected at 2.9 million metric tons in 2023-22, down from 3.1 million this year, he said.
Bajoria said carryover stocks of between 1.2 and 1.5 million metric tons of soybeans, and 1.2 to 1.4 million metric tons of rapeseed, would help reduce vegetable imports next year.
Imported stocks still stuck at ports would also boost local supplies, lowering next year’s imports, he said.