India's September palm oil imports slump 27% on tepid demand - trade body

Palm oil fruits are seen placed on a wheelbarrow at a palm oil farm in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur, February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s palm oil imports in September fell 27% on-year to their lowest in three months, due to lean demand from hotels and restaurants, while soyoil purchases jumped 28% in the month on higher household demand, a leading trade body said on Friday.

The south Asian country is the world’s biggest importer of edible oils, and lower purchases of palm oil could weigh on Malaysian palm oil prices. Higher soyoil imports could support U.S. soyoil prices.

The country imported 643,994 tonnes of palm oil in September, down from 879,947 last year, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

India’s soyoil imports last month stood at 316,232 tonnes, while sunflower oil imports plunged 47% to 66,783 tonnes from a year-ago period, it said.

India buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, and other oils, such as soyoil and sunflower oil, from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips