India's vegetable oil imports rose 35% in November to 9.44 lakh tonnes because of higher shipments of cheaper sunflower oil, says latest industry data.
Import of edible and non-edible vegetable oils stood at over 7 lakh tonnes in the same month last year.
India's vegetable oil imports rose 4.77% to a record 10.68 million tonnes in the 2012-13 marketing year (November-October) against 10.19 million tonnes in the previous year due to stagnant domestic output and rising consumption.
"Import of vegetable oils during November 2013 is reported at 9,44,309 tonnes as compared to 7,00,371 tonnes in November 2012, up by 35%," Solvent Extractors' Association said in a statement.
Edible oils import rose to 9,27,111 tonnes in November from 6,76,234 tonnes in the year-ago period. Imports of non-edible oils fell to 17,198 tonnes from 24,137 tonnes.
SEA attributed the surge in import to higher shipments of sunflower oil, which was cheaper by $30 per tonne as compared to soyabean oil.
Sunflower oil import jumped to 1,20,197 tonnes in November 2013 from 47,500 tonnes in the same month last year.
Moreover, it said that spread between RBD Palmolein and Crude Palm Oil reduced to less than $10 per tonne, making RBD Palmolein attractive over crude palm oil.
"In anticipation of likely increase in import duty, palm oil shipments were higher during the month," SEA said.
The current stock of edible oils as on December 1, 2013 at various ports is estimated at 590,000 tonnes and about 880,000 tonnes in pipeline.
During November 2013, the import of refined oil has gone up by 172% at 2,08,076 tonnes as compared to 76,519 tonnes in November 2012.
Import of crude oil is also up by 20% at 7,19,035 tonnes as compared to 5,99,715 tonnes in November 2012.