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Indian March refined palm oil imports up 92% on year

London — India's refined palm oil imports rose 92% year on year to 312,673 mt in March, the latest Solvent Extractors' Association of India update showed Monday.

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The refined variant imports rose 29.7% month on month.

In January, refined palm oil imports were 167,429 mt.

Last month's refined palm oil imports more than doubled from 130,459 mt in December 2018.

As expected, out worst fears have come true and India is being flooded with refined, bleached, and deodorized, palmolein from Malaysia, Executive Director of the Mumbai-based trade and industry body for vegetable oils, B.V. Mehta said.

"This development has the potential of sounding the death knell of the domestic palm refining industry," Mehta said.

On January 1, India cut import duties on crude and refined palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia to comply with preferential trade agreements with Southeast Asian nations.

The duty on CPO from Malaysia, Indonesia and other members of ASEAN was reduced to 40% from 44%, while the duty on refined palm oil was slashed to 45% from 54% if imported from Malaysia, and to 50% if imported from Indonesia.

With the changes, the effective gap in duties between crude palm oil and RBD palmolein shrank to 5.5% from 11%.

India, the world's leading vegetable oil importer, imports mainly palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia.

India imported 474,770 mt of CPO in March, down 20% on the year.

The SEA data showed CPO imports were 497,555 mt in February, 645,308 mt in January, and 670,244 mt in December.

-- Staff, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Ratnajyoti Dutta, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jonathan Dart, newsdesk@spglobal.com