India, the world's leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 7,36,036 tonnes palm oil in April 2016.
The country's total vegetable oil import grew by 7 per cent to 13,39,489 tonnes in April this year, from 12,48,887 tonnes in the year-ago period. Palm oils comprise 62 per cent of the total vegetable oil import.
However, import of vegetable oils in the first six months of the ongoing 2016-17 oil year ending October has dropped to 43,02,135 tonnes, from 43,40,890 tonnes in the year ago.
According to SEA, the difference between the landed price of two palm oils -- RBD palmolein and CPO -- has narrowed, encouraging the shipment of CPO this month. Also, strengthening of the rupee in the last three months supported the import of vegetable oils.
Among palm oil products, import of CPO went up to 5,11,139 tonnes in April this year, from 3,98,606 tonnes in the year- ago period.
However, the shipment of RBD palmolein fell to 2,32,243 tonnes, from 3,25,902 tonnes, while that of import of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) fell to 9,250 tonnes, from 11,528 tonnes in the said period, the SEA said in a statement.
The shipment of soyabean oil, however, dropped to 3,04,942 tonnes from the earlier 3,48,195 tonnes while that of rapeseed-mustard oil too declined to 31,924 tonnes, from 51,087 tonnes.
"Importers continue to make larger import of sunflower oil, taking advantage of attractive price vis-a-vis soyabean oil," the SEA said.
As on May 1, the stock of edible oils at various ports was estimated to be over 21.20 lakh tonnes, that is equal to meeting 39 days requirements. India's monthly requirement is about 16.50 lakh tonnes, it added.
India imports palm oil, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oils, including soyabean oil from Latin America. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.