New Delhi/ Mumbai: India, the world’s biggest vegetable oil buyer after China, may produce less oilseeds as dry weather in the country’s biggest growing regions reduced planting, likely boosting overseas purchases of cooking oils.
The country’s output may be less than 16.8 million tonnes (mt) produced last year, Govindlal G. Patel, director of trading firm Dipak Enterprises Ltd, said.
India, battling the fastest inflation in 13 years, needs to bolster cooking oil supplies to cool prices before next year’s general election. Increased imports by the country may support prices of palm and soya bean oils that reached records this year.
“As of today, the picture as far as oilseeds are concerned cannot be considered satisfactory,” Patel said.
India’s edible oil imports rose 13% to 3.09mt in the eight months that ended on June from a year ago, the Solvent Extractors’ Association said on Monday. Average monthly purchases may total 550,000 tonnes in the July-October period, compared with 300,000 tonnes bought in April and May, Patel had said on 4 July.
Rains have been below average so far in Maharashtra, India’s second biggest soya bean grower, and in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the main producers of peanuts, according to the India Meteorological Department.
“We don’t see any chances of monsoon’s revival at least in the next four-five days” over the western and southern areas, A.B. Mazumdar, deputy director general at the state-owned weather office, said.
Sowing for the monsoon crop, which provides more than 60% of oilseed output, begins in June.
The June-September monsoon rains, which account for four-fifths of the nation’s annual rainfall, were 20% less than normal in the week to 9 July, with showers being deficient in 22 of 36 weather divisions, the weather office said last week. Rainfall in July, which accounts for one-third of the four-month season, will be 98% of the average 293mm, it said on 30 June.