A worker holds up a handful of loose oil palm fruit, which will be processed into palm oil. (Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg.)

India's Palm Oil Imports Seen Climbing on Summer Season Demand

(Bloomberg) -- India’s palm oil imports probably advanced in February as rising demand before the summer season outweighed higher prices.

Imports in the world’s biggest buyer climbed about 8 percent to 795,000 metric tons from a year earlier, according to the median of four estimates in a Bloomberg survey of processors, brokers and analysts. Total vegetable oil purchases decreased 5.4 percent to 1.2 million tons. The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India is likely to release monthly trade numbers this week.

Palm oil prices on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives rose 2.7 percent in February, after falling for three straight months on higher stockpiles, muted demand from key buyers and expectations of a surge in supply later in the year.

Palm has fallen 5.7 percent this month after India increased import duties. Still, prices in India are about $25-$30 a ton lower than imports, prompting some buyers to delay shipments for about 15 days, Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive officer of Sunvin Group, a Mumbai-based broker and consultant for the oilseeds industry.

Soybean oil purchases declined about 23 percent to 193,500 tons in February, the survey showed. India buys soybean oil mainly from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina. Sunflower oil imports fell around 7.4 percent to 194,000 tons. Canola oil imports were seen at 19,000 tons.

ImportsFeb. 2018 (Survey)Jan. 2018 (SEA)Feb. 2017 (SEA)
Palm oil795,000834,444736,207
Soybean oil193,500224,870251,740
Sunflower oil194,000170,831209,422
Total Vegetable oil1,202,0001,291,1411,270,443   

NOTE: Figures in metric tons

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.