KARACHI (January 20 2005): Pakistan's vegetable oil imports were expectedto remain slow on falling international prices and high domestic stocks,and dealers said on Wednesday traders would wait for world prices tosettle down. Dealers said reports of high palm oil stocks in Malaysia hadalso sidelined big players, as they expect prices to remain soft in daysahead.
Malaysia's palm oil inventories stood at 1.49 million tonnes at the end ofDecember, compared with 1.43 million at end-November and 1.17 million ayear earlier.
"Importers are reluctant to place fresh orders due to the constant slidein the world prices and high stocks in Malaysia," said Akber Puri, aKarachi-based dealer.
Traders in Pakistan said supplies of locally produced cotton seed werealso halting imports as mills in central Punjab province were blendingcotton seed with other vegetable oils for local market consumption.
Pakistan expects output of cottonseed to cross 580,000 tonnes this season,up from the previous year's 400,000 on the back of a big cotton crop in2004/05 (April-February).
Domestic cottonseed is one of Pakistan's major sources of vegetable oil.
Traders said around 100,000 tonnes of palm oil and palm olein stocks wereavailable in the market and another 30,000 tonnes were expected to arrivein coming weeks - sufficient to meet local demand for over six weeks.
The local demand was expected to rise in March when the wedding season inPakistan sets in, they said.
Pakistan imports about 800,000 tonnes of oilseeds and about 1.3 milliontonnes of edible oil products annually, led by palm oil and palm olein.Its annual demand is 1.9 million tonnes.