(Corrects percentage, total oilmeal exports for March and FY12, and Vietnam figure, after trade body revised March soymeal exports.)
* Exports in fiscal 2011/12 at 5.52 mln T
* Oilmeal exports in current year seen above 5 mln T
* Exports seen steady despite import ban by China
By Rajendra Jadhav
MUMBAI, April 4 (Reuters) - India's oilmeal exports in fiscal 2011/12 rose 8.9 percent on the year to 5.52 million tonnes, fuelled by strong demand from traditional buyers like Japan, Vietnam and South Korea, a leading trade body said on Wednesday.
Exports in March stood at 618,201 tonnes against 579,907 tonnes a year ago, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.
Japan remained the biggest buyer of Indian meal, buying nearly 1.3 million tonnes in the fiscal year that ended in March, followed by Vietnam, which bought 920,708 tonnes.
Industry officials said exports in the current year that started in April depend on the availability of beans for crushing and world prices.
"Certainly exports will remain above 5 million tonnes. But forecasting exact exports is difficult right now," B.V. Mehta, SEA executive director, told Reuters.
"Domestic meal demand, production of oilseeds and prices in the world market will influence exports."
Beijing has halted imports of oilmeal from India after it found a hazardous chemical in the product last year.
"The ban from China is unlikely to affect total exports. New markets are opening up. There is good demand from neighbouring countries for Indian meal," Mehta said.
The country exported 3.83 million tonnes of soymeal in the year to March, making up 69 percent of total oilmeal exports. Rapeseed meal exports in the period from April to March rose a quarter, to 1.171 million tonnes.
Traders sold Indian soymeal at a record high price to an Indonesian miller this week as tight global supplies and a delay in shipments from rival Latin America forced buyers to seek expensive South Asian cargoes.
Indian soymeal, which typically sells at a discount to South American cargoes, was being offered at a premium of $20-$25 a tonne over Argentine soymeal.
For a table on India's oilmeal exports. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)