Top India Castor Oil Shipper Says Virus May Slow Sales to China
A worker pours refined oil into a bucket. (Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg)

Top India Castor Oil Shipper Says Virus May Slow Sales to China

(Bloomberg) -- Exports of castor oil from India to China may slow on concern the spread of coronavirus will impact port logistics in the world’s most populous country, according to India’s top shipper.

“Some Chinese buyers of castor oil have told us to go slow on shipments as they anticipate ports may be affected because of the spread of coronavirus,” said Abhay V. Udeshi, chairman of Jayant Agro-Organics Ltd. It’s too early to estimate the impact of the outbreak on the industry, he added

The ongoing spread of the coronavirus in China has rippled through commodity trade flows around the world, with logistical constraints at some Chinese ports holding up cargoes of agricultural goods. Also, demand for some foodstuffs including edible oils and meat is expected to be hurt as more people stay at home and avoid big meals at restaurants.

Castor oil prices in India fell about 8% to 82 rupees ($1.20) a kilogram (2.2 pounds) in the 10 days since news broke about the outbreak of the virus in China, said Haresh Vyas, managing director of Royal Castor Products Ltd.

“There is an impact on market sentiment and prices will be subdued in the near term,” Vyas said by phone. But the “reality is factories are operational in China and shipments from India are still going.”

India, the world’s biggest producer of castor seeds, exports about 500,000 tons to 600,000 tons of castor oil annually. Of that, China buys 240,000 tons to 250,000 tons. Jayant Agro-Organics accounts for about 35% to 40% of India’s total castor oil exports.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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