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NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

19/03/2002

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

NEWS SOURCE

NULL

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

INDIA SEEKS PALM OIL, STOCKS UP IN CHINA
KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 (Reuters) - India is looking for palm oil fromMalaysia and Indonesia to replenish its dwindling stocks of edible oil,while shipping space to China is in demand ahead of the release of importlicences, traders said on Monday.Vessel bookings for shipments from Malaysia or Indonesia to India, theworld's largest edible oil importer, are estimated to have reached up to300,000 tonnes so far this month.Traders speculated Malaysia's palm oil exports could reach one milliontonnes in March, up from 733,101 tonnes in February because of betterdemand from main buyers India, Pakistan and China."India's edible oil stocks are fairly low, that's why it's scramblingto buy now. We should see India buying between 600,000 and 800,000 tonnesin March/April," said one trader in Kuala Lumpur.India's monthly edible oil stocks, which include palm oil and soy oil,normally stand at around 600,000 tonnes. India buys around 220,000 to250,000 tonnes of palm oil a month from Malaysia and Indonesia, theworld's largest producers.In China, between 250,000 and 400,000 tonnes of palm oil are piling upin various ports with Beijing expected to issue licences for localimporters to buy palm oil later this month.China's palm oil import quotas total 2.4 million tonnes, up from lastyear's 1.4 million tonnes following its entry to the World TradeOrganisation (WTO)."China is also active in the freight market. People are parking theiroil in China," he added. Other brokers believed vessel bookings to Chinahad reached around 100,000 tonnes.

GOOD OILSEED CROPTraders said stocks are declining in India after local buyers trimmedimports in October through January because of good domestic oilseed crop,40 percent of which has been consumed.Expectations that India would cut the import duties for edible oils inits annual budget in February had slowed imports. But New Delhi kept theduties unchanged for crude edible oils and refined oils, which stand at 75and 85 percent respectively.Traders said India could shift to soy oil, a direct competitor to palmoil, when the crop from Brazil and Argentina enters the global market inMay/June."Europe will also buy palm oil because they will not receive soy oilbefore May. We don't know what will happen after May, but before that,people who need oil will come to Malaysia," said the Kuala Lumpur trader.Traders and freight brokers said vessel bookings for shipments toPakistan have reached 100,000-130,000 tonnes so far this month.Pakistan may import 1.2 million tonnes of palm oil from March throughSeptember this year, up from 800,000 tonnes in the same period of 2001after failure in this year's cotton seed crop.* To view freight rates from Peninsular Malaysia/Sumatra to China,India, Pakistan and Rotterdam, please key in OILS/ASIA1 and OILS/ASIA2 andpress enter, or double click between the brackets .