India Shift from Palm Oil to Sunflower Oil Due to Competitive Pricing

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India Shift from Palm Oil to Sunflower Oil Due to Competitive Pricing. Photo by:

PALMOILMAGAZINE, MUMBAI – In March 2024, sunflower oil imports into India surged by 51% compared to the previous month, reaching a historic peak. This spike was primarily driven by the lower cost of sunflower oil compared to palm oil, prompting distillers to ramp up their imports while scaling back on palm oil imports, as reported by five dealers cited in Reuters.

India, the world’s largest importer of vegetable oil, witnessed a decline in palm oil imports, despite the Malaysian Derivative Exchange’s crude palm oil (CPO) prices hovering near their highest levels in the past year. The rise in sunflower oil prices is expected to curtail the supply of sunflower oil from the Black Sea region.

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Forecasts from several dealers indicate that sunflower oil imports in March 2024 reached 448,000 metric tons, marking a 51% increase from the previous month and the second-highest level on record. Meanwhile, CPO imports decreased by 3.3% to 481,000 tons, hitting their lowest level since May 2023.

Also Read: CPO Prices Depressed by Weakening Prices of Other Vegetable Oils

Sandeep Bajoria, CEO of Sunvin Group and a vegetable oil broker, attributed the surge in sunflower oil imports to production issues that kept CPO prices high. This prompted buyers to turn to sunflower oil as an alternative.

CPO was about US$ 1.020 per metric ton in India for May 2024 delivery while soyoil and sunflower oil was about US$ 1.000 and US$ 960 per ton for each, including the cost, insurance, and CIF, according to many deaers.

Managing Partner in GGN Research, Rajesh Patel, a vegetable oil dealer and broker, said that sunflower oil was very competitive in price and made sure that it would be higher imports for April and May 2024.

Soyoil imports increased in March 2024 that reached 27% to be 220.000 tons from the previous month. But the numbers would be much less than the average ones for monthly import in the previous year.

Vegetable oil imports in India in March hit the highest level in the past six months that reached 1,149 million tons or increased 18,7% from the previous month, still according to the dealers.

India purchased CPO particularly from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, while soyoil and sunflower oil were imported from Argentina, Brazil, Russia, and Ukraine. The official March 2024 import data would be published by Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) in the midst of April 2024. (T2)

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