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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 India edible oil duty cuts effective up to Oct. 31

7/09/06 NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Import duty cuts on some edible oils, announced in August in a bid to check inflation, will be effective up to Oct. 31, 2006, a Finance Ministry official told Reuters on Thursday.

India earlier this year slashed duties on wheat and pulses.

Government data released last week showed wholesale price index-based inflation at 4.91 percent in the 12 months to Aug. 19, a shade lower than 4.92 percent a week earlier.

"The duty cut is effective until Oct. 31, 2006. We will again review the duty structure next month," the official, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters.

Import duties on crude palm oil and palmolein were reduced in August to 70 percent from 80 percent, while those on RBD palm oil and palmolein were cut to 80 percent from 90 percent.

India consumes about 11 million tonnes of edible oil a year.

Palm oil constitutes 40 percent of India's total annual edible oil imports of more than 5 million tonnes, and a surge in international prices poses an inflationary risk.

"Revision of duties and base import prices of agricultural products are time bound," the official said. "The government reviews it periodically considering the demand-supply situation, international prices and domestic inflationary pressures."

Edible oil imports are likely to decline to about 4.8 million tonnes in the year to September 2006 because of higher domestic output, traders said

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