Import of vegetable oils in February rose 7.4 per cent to 12.42 lakh tonnes on sharp rise in shipments of refined palm oil, according to industry body SEA.
While import of edible oil increased to 11,82,062 tonnes in February 2019 from 11,24,999 tonnes in the year-ago period, the inward shipments of non-edible oil nearly doubled to 60,471 tonnes from 32,045 tonnes.
During November-February period of 2018-19 oil year, the overall import of vegetable oils went up by 1.61 per cent to 48,62,849 tonnes compared to 47,85,778 tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.
"Ministry of Finance with effect from January 1, 2019, reduced import duty on palm oil and also reduced the duty difference between crude and palm oil from 10 per cent to 5 per cent on palmolein to be imported from Malaysia".
This has resulted into sharp increase in import of RBD Palmolein which nearly doubled to 2,41,101 tonnes in February 2019 from 1,30,459 tons in December 2018, up by 85 per cent at the cost of reduced import of CPO (crude palm oil), SEA said.
"This development has the potential of sounding the death knell of palm refining industry in our country, if this aberration is not corrected," SEA cautioned.
During November'18-February'19, the import of refined oil (RBD Palmolein) increased to 6,47,900 tons from 6,07,359 tons in same period of last year. However, import of crude oil decreased to 39,63,912 tonnes from 40,48,091 tonnes during the same period of last year.
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