Singapore: India’s edible oil imports may climb 38% by 2010, straining supplies, as rising incomes among the nation’s middle-class consumers stoke demand for fried food.
Purchases may total at least 6.5 million tonnes (mt), up from 4.7mt last year, said B.V. Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors’ Association, at a conference on Thursday.
The price of palm oil, produced mostly in Indonesia and Malaysia, has risen 44% in the past year on demand for vegetable oil for cooking and biofuel. Soya bean oil, its main substitute, has surged 82% in the period as US farmers planted soya beans to the smallest acreage in 12 years.
“The benefit is harvested by Indonesia,” Mehta said in Jakarta. “About 80% of India’s requirement is imported from Indonesia.”
Palm oil futures in Malaysia, the global benchmark, reached a record 4,486 ringgit (about Rs59,000) a tonne on 4 March. The futures for August delivery climbed for a second day, gaining 1.4% to 3,607 ringgit a tonne on Thursday.