India's February Palm Oil Imports Hit 9-Month Low Amid Surge in Sunflower Oil Purchases

Palm Oil (CPO)

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In February, India experienced a significant decline in palm oil imports, marking the lowest levels in nine months. This drop was primarily influenced by heightened prices, prompting buyers to reduce their purchases of palm oil and opt for sunflower oil instead. The decreased demand for palm oil, particularly from the world's largest importer of vegetable oils, could potentially impact Malaysian palm oil futures negatively. However, it is expected to alleviate sunflower oil inventories in the Black Sea region.

Estimates provided by dealers indicate that February saw a 35.6% month-on-month decrease in palm oil imports, totaling 504,000 metric tons, which is the lowest figure since May 2023. Conversely, sunflower oil imports surged by 34% during the same period, reaching 295,000 tons. This increase can be attributed to lower prices and delayed shipments from January due to disruptions caused by Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping lanes.

Meanwhile, soyoil imports in February experienced a 7.9% decline compared to the previous month, totaling 174,000 tons. This figure is notably below the monthly average imports of 306,000 tons observed in the last marketing year that ended on October 31, according to dealer estimates.