May 15, 2019 / 8:48 AM / 9 days ago

April palm oil imports drop 9.2% to 5-month low: trade body

FILE PHOTO: A worker collects palm oil fruits at a plantation in Bahau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s palm oil imports fell 9.2% in April from a year ago to the lowest level in five months, a leading trade body said on Wednesday, as refiners trimmed purchases after higher imports in March.

Lower purchases by the world’s biggest edible oil importer could weigh on palm oil prices that are trading near their lowest level in five-and-a-half months.

India imported 707,450 tonnes of palm oil in April, down from 778,884 tonnes in the same month a year ago, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) said in a statement. bit.ly/2HkfKLl

“In March there were excessive imports. Refiners adjusted inventory by reducing imports in April,” said Govindbhai Patel, managing director of trading firm G.G. Patel & Nikhil Research Company.

Palm oil imports could improve in May but were unlikely to rise to the March level of 802,443 tonnes, he said.

India primarily imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia and soyoil from Argentina and Brazil. It also buys small volumes of sunflower oil from Ukraine and canola oil from Canada.

The country’s sunflower oil imports in April fell 17.7% to 242,462 tonnes, while soyoil purchases fell 6% to 248,851 tonnes, the SEA said.

Its total vegetable oil imports in the month fell 11% to 1.2 million tonnes, the trade body said.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Shreejay Sinha and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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