Mumbai: India may increase edible oil imports by more than 80% till October, straining global stockpiles, to meet a shortfall in domestic supplies and cool the fastest inflation in 13 years, a commodity trader said.
Average monthly imports by the world’s second biggest buyer of cooking fat may total 550,000 tonnes, compared with 300,000 tonnes bought in April and May, Govindlal G. Patel, managing partner at Dipak Enterprise Ltd, said. Patel, 69, has been trading the commodity for more than four decades.
Increased imports may further deplete global reserves, supporting palm oil prices that have climbed 19% this year. Soya bean oil has surged 39% in the same period in Chicago.
“Imports will be the only channel of supply for India as it enters the lean period as far domestic supplies are concerned,” Patel said from Rajkot. “We are going to see more imports.”
Palm oil futures in Malaysia, the global benchmark, traded near a two-week high today at 3,618 ringgit ($1,107 or Rs47,822) a tonne. The price has risen 40% in the past year. Soya bean oil futures gained 0.4% to 69.17 cents a pound (about 0.45kg) in Chicago.
Palm oil, typically used as cooking oil or in soaps, is the world’s most-consumed vegetable oil and can be mixed with diesel to stretch fossil fuel supplies.
Soya bean oil, the main rival, is used in food as well as for biodiesel.