Total palm oil imports by the world's leading vegetable oil buyer stood at 7,74,207 tonnes during the same month last year and 6,13,574 tonnes in November 2012.

Palm oils make up 70 percent of the country's total vegetable oil imports. India meets 60 percent of its annual vegetable oil demand of 17-18 million tonnes via imports.

SEA attributed the rise in palm oil imports to a "record level" during the November period to zero export duty on palm products slapped by Indonesia and Malaysia, lowest prices of palm products in last five years and reduced demand of crude palm oil for bio-diesel production.

The shipments rose also because of anticipated hike in import duty of edible oils and lower availability of domestic oils due to sluggish crushing in view of high oilseeds prices, the Mumbai-based industry body said in a statement.     

Among palm oil products, import of refined palm oil (RBD Palmolein) fell by 73 percent to 55,815 tonnes in November this year, from 2,08,076 tonnes in the year-earlier month.

"Overall share of palm oil products has narrowed down to 69 percent from 84 percent of the total vegetable oils imports. The share of soft oils import, however, has increased to 31 percent from 16 per cent last year," it said.

According to the SEA, import of soft oils comprising soyabean and sunflower oils increased to 3,52,544 tonnes in November this year from 1,52,904 tonnes in the same month in 2013.
The country's total vegetable oil imports increased by 26 percent to 1,189,934 tonnes in November this year, as against 9,44,309 tonnes in the year-ago period, SEA said.

Recently, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said that the Agriculture Ministry has moved a proposal to increase import duty of edible oils to protect domestic players.     

The Agriculture Ministry has proposed increase in import duty of refined edible oil to 12.5 percent from the existing 10 percent, while the food ministry has recommended that the hike should be 15 percent. On crude edible oil, both the ministries have proposed import duty should be increased to 5 percent from the current 2.5 percent.

India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia and small quantity of crude soft oils, including soyabean oil, from Latin America and sunflower oil from Ukraine and Russia.

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