FILE PHOTO: A worker arranges palm oil fruit bunches at a factory in Tanjung Karang, Malaysia August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s palm oil imports rose 4% in December from a year earlier, as reduction in the import tax prompted refiners to increase purchases of the edible oil, while soyoil imports doubled, a leading trade body said on Thursday.

The country imported 770,392 tonnes of palm oil last month, while soyoil imports stood at 322,809 tonnes, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

India in late November slashed the import tax on crude palm oil to 27.5% from 37.5%, as New Delhi tried to bring down rising food prices.

“This reduction of duty on CPO has encouraged larger import of palm oil,” the SEA said.

The country’s sunflower oil imports jumped 19% to 234,960 tonnes in December, it added.

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

Palm oil imports could fall in January as prices have jumped to a 10-year high, a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm said.

“Demand has been moderating because of higher prices,” the dealer added.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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