Palm oil imports remained flat at 7,22,857 tonne in December because of increase in the import duty, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said today.
India, the world's leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 7,23,158 tonne palm oil in December 2016.
The country's total vegetable oil imports declined 10 per cent to 10,88,783 tonne in December 2017 compared to 12,09,685 tonne in the year-ago period.
The share of palm oil is more than 60 per cent of the country's total vegetable oil imports.
In November, the government raised the import duty on edible oils by 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent across the board to ensure farmers get remunerative prices for their produce.
"This announcement has changed the sentiment and the market has moved upward and now prices of soyabean and groundnut are above the minimum support price," the SEA said in a statement.
The second objective of the hike in import duty was to offset the export duty imposed by palm oil exporting countries especially Malaysia and Indonesia, it said.
SEA said the increase in import duty by India led to Malaysia suspending the export taxes on crude palm oil (CPO) for a three-month period effective January 8, 2018, and with this export duty on CPO will be nil.
"The withdrawal of export duty by Malaysia on CPO will reduce the landed cost and thereby India would be benefited," it added.
Among palm oil products, import of CPO increased to 6,08,405 tonne in December 2017 from 4,73,179 tonne in the year-ago period, as per the SEA data.
The shipment of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) also increased to 7,528 tonne from 4,425 tonne, while that of RBD palmolein declined to 1,06,924 tonne from 2,45,554 tonne in the said period.
Among soft oil, import of sunflower oil increased to 2,36,655 tonne in December 2017 from 1,85,824 tonne in the year-ago period.
The shipment of soyabean oil fell sharply to 79,250 tonne from 2,32,132 tonne, while that of rapeseed-mustard oil declined to 19,527 tonne from 22,138 tonne in the said period.
India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oil, including soyabean oil from Latin America. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)