14/10/04 NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)--India's edible oil imports in Septembertotaled 575,885 metric tons compared with 480,150 tons in thecorresponding month last year, the Solvent Extractors' Association ofIndia said Thursday.
SEA added that edible oil imports in the November 2003 to September2004 period totaled 3.9 million tons compared with 4.7 million tons in thesame period last oil marketing year.
India's oil marketing year runs from November to October.
Crude palm oil imports totaled 276,922 tons in September compared with191,147 tons in September 2003.
Imports of refined, bleached and deodorized palm olein totaled 130,953tons in September compared with 78,511 tons in September 2003.
Crude palm olein imports in September totaled 40,698 tons comparedwith 21,463 tons a year earlier.
Imports of crude soyoil fell to 127,006 tons in September comparedwith 164,082 tons in September 2003.
SEA executive director B.V. Mehta said there has been a sharp rise inimports of RBD palm olein over the past year, after the federal governmentissued a controversial notification last year to consider only importedCPO shipments with carotenoid values above 500 milligrams a kilogram asgenuine CPO.
"RBD palm olein imports are showing a rising trend from month tomonth. It was hardly 33,000 tons in July, increased to 79,000 tons inAugust and jumped to 130,000 tons in September 2004, thanks to theunresolved issue of carotenoid in crude palm oil," said Mehta.
If a CPO shipment has lower carotenoid value, it will be treated asrefined palm olein, with an import duty of 75%. CPO attracts a 65% importduty.
Indian edible oil mills are angry over the notification, as this hasled to more imports of refined palm olein, which means less business forIndian edible oil refineries that convert CPO to refined palm olein.
Carotenoid is a naturally occurring pigment that gives CPO itscharacteristic orange color. Most experts say it is difficult to findimported CPO shipments with carotenoid value above 500 millograms/kg, ascarotenoid evaporates in the process of imported palm oil traveling fromMalaysia and Indonesia to Indian ports.