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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Indian vegoil imports to rise

BOMBAY (July 16 2003) : Edible oil imports by India, the world's largestbuyer, are expected to rise 15 percent in the quarter ending Septemberfrom a year because domestic supplies have fallen, traders said onTuesday.

They estimated imports at about 1.68 million tonnes during July-September,up from 1.46 million in the same quarter of the previous year.

Total imports are expected to surge 24 percent to 5.5 million tonnes inthe year to October from a year.

"India will continue to import huge volumes of edible oils in the nextthree months as the winter crop arrivals will begin only late September,"Sandeep Bajoria, chairman of India's Central Organisation for Oil Industryand Trade, told Reuters.

India's oilseed output fell 31 percent from a year to 15.38 million tonnesin 2002/03 (July-June) as the country faced the worst drought in 15 years.

India buys palm oil mainly for Malaysia and Indonesia and soyaoil fromArgentina and Brazil.

Freight brokers in Malaysia said India's appetite for edible oils remainedstrong. "I think India's soyaoil imports will be steady at around 200,000tonnes this month," said one Kuala Lumpur broker.

"Their palm oil demand looks healthy and they have booked up to 400,000tonnes of oil from Malaysia and Indonesia for July."

But Indian traders said the country was expected to import 225,000-230,000tonnes of soyaoil in July, up from 211,600 tonnes a year ago.

About 165,000 tonnes of edible oils have already arrived this month,including 74,000 tonnes of soyaoil and 48,000 tonnes of crude palmoil.-Reuters