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MUMBAI: India's palm oil imports jumped 18.7% in March from the previous month, as traders moved to secure alternatives to sunflower oil that can no longer be bought from Ukraine, a leading trade body said on Wednesday.

The higher purchases of palm oil by India, the world's biggest importer of edible oils, could support Malaysian palm oil futures.

In March, 539,793 tonnes of palm oil landed in India, up from 454,794 tonnes in February, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

India imported 212,484 tonnes of sunflower oil in March, up from 152,220 tonnes in February, helped by the arrival of a few ships that had left Ukraine before the war, it said.

"However in April, as no shipment from Ukraine came, sunflower oil import may fall to nearly 80,000 tonnes, mainly arriving from Russia and Argentina only," it said.

India has contracted for 45,000 tonnes of Russian sunflower oil at a record high price for shipments in April, as edible oil prices in the local market surged because of the cessation of Ukrainian supply.

The country's soyoil imports in March fell to 299,421 tonnes from 376,594 tonnes a month ago, the SEA said.

"Brazil and Argentina have limited soyoil surplus. In the past few months, India was trying to buy soyoil from other origins including the United States and Germany. But these countries can't ship big volume," said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm.

India has imported a record 112,576 tonnes of soyoil from the United States in the first five months of the current 2021/22 marketing year ending on Oct. 31, the SEA data showed.

As sunoil and soyoil supplies are limited, India has no choice but to import more than 600,000 tonnes of palm oil in April, the dealer said.

India buys palm oil from top producers Indonesia and Malaysia and soyoil mainly from Argentina and Brazil.

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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