10 May 2012

India's import of crude and refined palm oil increased to 515,000 tons from 350,469, aiding gains in Malaysian palm oil prices - Bloomberg News Survey

Cooking-oil imports by India, the world’s biggest consumer after China, may have surged for the third straight month in April on lower crushing of the domestic crop and higher local prices.

Purchases probably gained 68 percent to 800,000 metric tons from 475,123 tons a year earlier, according to the median estimate of five processors and brokers surveyed by Bloomberg News. Imports of crude and refined palm oil advanced to 515,000 tons from 350,469 tons, the survey showed. The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India will release the data on May 14.

Higher imports may aid gains in Malaysian palm oil prices, which rose to a 13-month high in April, boosting profits for producers including Sime Darby Bhd. (SIME) Futures climbed 5.8 percent this year on concern that global cooking-oil supplies may decline as drought curbs soybean output in Brazil and Argentina. India’s vegetable-oil imports climbed 67 percent to 727,706 tons in March and 21 percent to 3.79 million tons in the five months ended March 31, the processors’ body said April 13.

“The crushing of soybean has substantially decreased this year, and there was a big margin in import of oils as domestic prices were higher,” said Govindlal G. Patel, a managing director at GG Patel & Nikhil Research Co. “This pace of imports will continue for the next few months and we can see imports of around 800,000 tons per month.”

Palm oil for July rose 0.3 percent to 3,360 ringgit ($1,094) a ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange at 5:34 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Futures rose to 3,628 ringgit on April 10, the highest price since March 2011. Soybean oil, which competes with palm oil for use in food and fuels, rose 0.2 percent to 53.37 cents per pound on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Domestic Harvest

Cooking-oil imports by India are set to increase 15 percent to as much as 10 million tons this year as a decline in the domestic oilseed harvest fuels demand, Anil Agrawal, executive director of Sanwaria Agro Oils Ltd. (SAO), said on May 3. The country bought 8.7 million tons in 2010-2011. India’s oilseeds output may drop to 30.1 million tons in the year ending June 30 from 32.5 million tons a year earlier, farm ministry said April 23.

Buyers may boost purchases for June shipment due to a drop in palm oil prices in the last 15 days, Ashok Sethia, executive director at Sethia Oils Ltd., said by phone from Kolkata. Prices have slid 3.2 percent so far this month on speculation that production will climb in Malaysia, the second largest supplier.

“Imports in the next few months will be higher compared to last year but importers may be discouraged to buy to an extent because of a weak rupee,” said Davish Jain, managing director of Prestige Group. The Indian rupee has lost 5.6 percent against the dollar this quarter in Asia’s worst currency performance.

Soybean-oil imports probably surged to 150,000 tons in April from 31,250 tons a year earlier, while sunflower-oil purchases may have risen to 115,000 tons from 76,400 tons, the Bloomberg survey showed.

Edible-oil stockpiles at Indian ports maybe about 835,000 tons at the end of April, said Patel of GG Patel & Nikhil. Palm- oil imports from Indonesia, the biggest producer, and Malaysia make up almost 80 percent of India’s cooking-oil purchases.

Source: www.reuters.com


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