Palm oil imports seen slumping from 1-year high

Futures in Malaysia fell during the morning session on Thursday.

By Pratik Parija
India’s palm oil imports in October probably retreated from a one-year high as traders and refiners trimmed buying after overseas supplies became more expensive.

Shipments dropped about 12 per cent from a month earlier to 775,000 tons, according to the median of five estimates in a Bloomberg survey of processors, brokers and analysts. That’s the lowest since June. Imports were 879,947 tons in September. The Solvent Extractors’ Association may release its data this week.

demand slump

The decline in purchases by India, the world’s biggest importer, may boost inventories in top producers Indonesia and Malaysia. It could also curb a rally in palm oil futures, which hit a two-year high this week. After tumbling to a four-year low in July, futures entered a bull market last month, supported by lower stockpiles, strong exports and weaker production.

“Any rise in prices in a short span of time will deter buyers. There will be buying in dips,” said Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, head of trading and hedging strategies at Kaleesuwari Intercontinental. “This is the time when palm oil tends to solidify and that reduces demand.”

Imports OCT 2019 (survey) SEPT 2019 (SEA) OCT 2018 (SEA)
Palm oil 775,000 879,947 753,590
Soybean oil 332,000 247,665 264,089
Sunflower oil 170,000 126,831 156,767
Total vegetable oil 1,303,000 1,303,976 1,256,433
NOTE- Figures in metric tons

Futures in Malaysia fell during the morning session on Thursday, declining as much as 1.1 per cent to 2,558 ringgit per ton before trading at 2,571 ringgit by the midday break in Kuala Lumpur.

“There is a disparity in prices and that will reduce imports by India this month as well,” said G. G. Patel, managing partner of GGN Research, an agricultural research company. Purchases may total 625,000 tons in November, he said.

Soybean oil purchases, mostly from the US, Brazil and Argentina, climbed 34 per cent from a month earlier to 332,000 tons, while sunflower oil imports rose 34 per cent to 170,000 tons, the survey showed. Total vegetable oil imports were little changed at 1.3 million tons, according to the survey.





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