Prices of edible oil prices in Maharashtra have gone up by 10-20% ahead of the festive season, compared with prices in April. According to industry traders, prices of palm oil (15 kg) have gone up from Rs 1,375 (April 2020 onwards) to Rs 1,500 (till date), up by 9%.
Prices of sunflower oil have risen by 21%, from Rs 1,480 to Rs 1,800 per 15 kg. Similarly, cotton seed oil has gone up 11%, from Rs 1,350 to Rs 1,500 and soybean oil prices have increased 20%, from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per 15 kg.
BV Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors Association of India, said the demand is picking up since the market is reopening after the lockdown. Both India and China are big buyers, but international prices have gone up and since India’s dependency on imports is around 70%, these factors affect the market sentiment to a great extent, he said.
Some of the traders at Vashi attributed the price rise to recent rains that damaged the groundnut crop in Gujarat, soybean crop in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and the sunflower crop in Karnataka.
Soybean production is estimated to go up from 100 lakh tonne last season to 125 lakh tonne, while groundnut production is expected to rise up to 55-60 lakh tonne, from 39 lakh tonne last year, he pointed out.
Nilesh Vira from Vashi pointed out that price rise might have happened due to some changes in the government import policy. Edible oil imports are restricted and could have caused a rise in prices, he said.
Suresh Gori, an oil businessman in Vashi, pointed out only crude oil imports are allowed and refined oil is not permitted, and therefore, there is some supply crunch. Only those with refineries can currently import oil, but the situation should ease by the end of October when new crop arrivals begin and the pressure is eased to some extent.
The demand for edible oils is about 230 lakh tonne in India, and the country produces around 75-80 lakh tonne.