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NEW DELHI : India's palm oil imports fell 27% to 3,94,495 tonnes in February from the year-ago period, mainly due to factors like sluggish demand and higher import of crude palm oil in the previous two months, industry body SEA said on Friday.

The palm oil imports during February 2020 stood at 5,40,470 tonnes, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

The overall import of vegetable oils during February was down by 25% at 8,38,607 tonnes, compared to 11,12,478 tonnes in the year-ago month. It consisted of 7,96,568 tonnes of edible oils and 42,039 tonnes of non-edible oils.

The overall import of vegetable oils during November 2020 to February 2021 dropped by 3.7% to 43,94,760 tonnes as against 45,63,791 tonnes in the year-ago period.

"Import of edible oil is down during February mainly due to disparity in refining of palm oil, lesser demand due to cold weather and also excessive import of CPO in previous two months," the SEA said.

Sunflower oil import fell as it has became too expensive with the ruling international prices and consumers are switching over to alternatives, mainly soybean oil, it added.

According to SEA data, import of RBD palm oil declined to 6,000 tonnes in February this year from 33,677 tonnes in the year-ago month, while that of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) fell to 3,83,995 tonnes from 4,88,354 tonnes.

Similarly, import of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) declined to 4,500 tonnes in February this year from 18,439 tonnes earlier.

In case of soft oils, import of sunflower oil and soybean oil declined to 1,16,100 tonnes and 2,85,973 tonnes, respectively, in February.

In February 2020, import of sunflower oil stood at 2,26,743 tonnes and soybean oil at 3,22,448 tonnes.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the major suppliers of palm oil to India.

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