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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Indian palm oil importers show new interest in buy

KUALA LUMPUR (July 24 2003) : Edible oils importers in India, the world'slargest consumer, have shown fresh interest in palm oil following recentfalls in futures prices, dealers said on Wednesday.

But that offered little help for the Malaysian palm oil futures, which hadlost 10 percent in the past one month and were now trading at their lowestlevels in 14 months due to worries over rising output in Malaysia, theysaid.

Also, the market had factored in prospects of Malaysian palm oil exportsreaching one million tonnes each month from July onwards because offestival seasons in main consumers such as India, China and Pakistan.

Malaysia was likely to produce 13 million tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO)in 2003, higher than the government's recent estimates of 12 tonnes, saidtraders. The world's largest grower produced 11.9 million tonnes of CPOlast year.

"People have been waiting for edible oils prices, especially palm oil tocome down.

We've been hearing a lot of inquiries for CPO and products for August andSeptember shipments," said one regional dealer, who sells palm oil toIndia.

"From July through October, India will be importing between 1.5 and 1.8million tonnes of edible oils, including palm oil and soyoil becausethere's no local oil yet," said the dealer, indicating a steady demand.

Some traders said India's own oilseed crop would not be available in thelocal market until October, which is the peak of the festival season andwhen people celebrate the Diwali Hindu festival of lights.

India buys nearly half of its annual edible oil requirements of more than10 million tonnes because of a shortage in local output.

It buys palm oil mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia and soyoil fromArgentina and Brazil.

Freight brokers said India had so far booked between 380,000 and 400,000tonnes of Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil for July.-Reuters