Is It Now a Good Time to Export Sunflower Seed Oil to India?

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ten data blog03-04-2024

Import Volume of Indian Sunflower Oil and Soybean Oil Increases, While Palm Oil Imports Decline

The increase in import volumes of Indian sunflower oil and soybean oil resulted in the highest total edible oil imports in six months for India in March, reaching 1.149 million tons, an 18.7% increase compared to the previous month.

Indian sunflower oil imports in March increased by 51% compared to the previous month, reaching the second-highest level on record, attributed to refinery purchases increasing due to price declines, while purchases of competing palm oil decreased.

India, the world's largest importer of vegetable oils, reduced its purchase of palm oil, which may limit the upward trend of Malaysian benchmark palm oil futures, currently approaching their highest level in a year. Increased purchases of sunflower oil are expected to help reduce sunflower oil stocks in the Black Sea region.

According to estimates from distributors, sunflower oil imports in March surged by 51% to 448,000 tons, the second-highest on record. They reported a 3.3% decline in palm oil imports to 481,000 tons, the lowest since May 2023.

The import price for crude palm oil (CPO) for May delivery to India is approximately $1,020 per ton, including cost, insurance, and freight (CIF), while prices for soybean oil and sunflower oil are around $1,000 and $960 per ton, respectively.

Although palm oil typically trades at lower prices than soybean oil and sunflower oil, declining inventories have driven its price above that of its well-supplied oil competitors.

Rajesh Patel, Managing Partner at GGN Research, a trading and brokerage firm specializing in edible oils, stated that sunflower oil prices remain highly competitive, ensuring continued increases in imports even during April and May.

Estimates indicate a 27% increase in soybean oil imports in March, reaching 220,000 tons, significantly lower than the monthly average import volume of 306,000 tons for the previous sales year ending October 31.

According to Indian export data, India primarily purchases palm oil from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, while importing soybean oil and sunflower oil from Argentina, India, Russia, and Ukraine.

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