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NEW DELHI: India’s palm oil imports rose 17.3% in December over the previous month and the recent duty reduction is expected to help Malaysian exporters in gaining a bigger market share, an industry group said on Tuesday.

The country imported 811,700 tonnes of palm oil last month compared with 691,827 tonnes in November, the Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said.

Malaysian exporters are expected to grow their share in the Indian edible oil market after the Indian government on Dec 31 announced revised import duties on palm oil under the Malaysia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Miceca).

Indonesia and Malaysia are the two major suppliers of palm oil to India.

The duty on crude palm oil (CPO) was reduced to 40% from 44%, while for refined palm oil it was revised to 50% from 54%.

The duty on RBD palm olein from Malaysia was lowered from 54% to 45%.

“The duty changes will promote Indian import demand for palm oil at the expense of soft oils,” SEA said.

The share of palm oil in India’s vegetable imports rose to 71% in December from 64% in November.

Soybean oil imports slumped to 85,404 tonnes last month from 203,734 tonnes in the previous month.

Total edible oil imports rose 6.7% to 1.14 million tonnes in December.

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