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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 India's June vegoil imports seen up

BOMBAY (June 13 2003) : Edible oil imports by India, the world's largestbuyer, are expected to surge in June from a year due to poor availabilityof domestic oils, traders and industry officials said on Thursday.

They estimated the imports at about 550,000 tonnes 150,000 tonnes of crudesoya oil and 400,000 tonnes palm oils up 27 percent from 433,000 tonnes inJune last year.

"Edible oil imports are set to jump in the coming months to meet domesticneeds as the current year's oilseed output was the lowest in the pastdecade," Sanded Bajoria, chairman of the Central Organisation for OilIndustry and Trade, told Reuters.

Traders said imports in the current year ending October might climb 23percent from a year ago period to 5.4 million tonnes.

Bajoria said oilseed production dipped by 20 percent from the previousyear to about 16 million tonnes in 2002/03 (November-October) due to poorrains, which resulted in the country's worst drought in 15 years.

Domestic supply from all sources, including oils from rice bran andcottonseed, is estimated to drop by 17.6 percent to 5.54 million tonnes in2002/03 from 6.72 million in the previous year, according to tradeforecasts.

Traders said India had already booked about 320,000 tonnes of palm oilsand the entire volume of soya oil for arrivals in June. Import deals forabout 80,000 tonnes of palm oils would be inked in the next couple ofweeks, they said.

India imports palm oils mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia and soya oilfrom Argentina and Brazil.-Reuters