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Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani





Local supplies to trim Indian edible oil imports
10/12/2005  NEW DELHI, (Reuters): Good domestic supplies and stocks are expected to trim India's edible oil imports by more than 100,000 tonnes in November-January, or around 15 per cent, trade and industry officials said yesterday.
The country of more than 1 billion people imports about half its edible oil needs of 11 million tonnes, buying palm oils from Malaysia and Indonesia and soyoil from Argentina and Brazil.
"I expect only 750,000 tonnes of edible oil imports between November and January against 870,000 tonnes in the same period a year ago," B.V. Mehta, executive director of the Solvent Extractors' Association, told Reuters.
About 250,000 tonnes would be soy oil and the rest palm oils.
Mehta said total edible oil imports in the new oil year that began in November were estimated at 4.8 million tonnes, down from a little over 5 million tonnes the previous year.
Soy oil imports in the year are expected to be about 2 million tonnes and palm oils close to 2.8 million tonnes.
India increased imports of soy oil to more than 40 per cent of its total edible oil purchases in the year to October from a recent average of 30 per cent because of lower prices and duty differentials between the two oils.
India imposes an 80 per cent import duty on crude palm oil (CPO) and its fractions and 90 per cent on other palm oils, including refined, bleached and deodorised palm olein and RBD palm olein.
But crude soybean oil attracts only a 45 per cent duty because of World Trade Organisation regulations.
Traders said carryover stocks of 2 million tonnes of rapeseed, good winter oilseeds output and prospects for a good crop in March would augment domestic supplies. They said adequate stocks had also depressed edible oil prices.
Imports would be lower in January because of higher domestic supplies in the month when crushing peaks.
The farm ministry said this week the area under oilseeds to be harvested in the summer has grown markedly from a year ago mainly because of increased sowing of rapeseed and sunflower.
Apart from rapeseed/mustard and sunflower, groundnut, safflower, sesame and linseed are the other oilseed crops sown in November for harvest in March and April.
The ministry said oilseeds had so far been sown over 8.92 million hectares this season, up from 8.59 million hectares a year ago.