Cooking oil imports rise to 8-month high in June

New Delhi: India’s imports of edible oil rose 8% to an eight-month high of 1.12 million tonnes in June compared to an year ago, as importers partly made up for the low stock in the previous two months, trade boy Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) said.

However, demand is still lower than the pre-Covid level and imports for the year would be lower than the previous year, the association said.

“The imports largely filled up the pipeline, as purchase of edible oil in the previous months were very low. We also see a marginal improvement in demand for cooking oil in hotels, restaurants and cafes,” said Atul Chaturvedi, president of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA).

Chaturvedi said that things were looking up and July could be better with offices, hotels and restaurants opening up. However, demand as still below the pre-Covid level.

“This year imports will be two million tonnes less compared to the previous year,” he said. To meet its annual edible oil consumption of 23 million tonnes, India imported 14.9 million tonnes of edible oils in 2018-19.

Total import of edible oils from November 2019 to June this year fell 15% to 8.05 million tonnes, compared to the same period of previous year, mainly due to reduction in palmolein imports.

Palmolein, which is more than 60% of the total edible oil shipments, declined by 79% to 380,386 tonnes in June this year compared to the year-ago.