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India Unlikely To Be Affected By Indonesia's Plan to Ban Palm Oil Exports

Indonesia's plans to limit palm oil exports are unlikely to cause a shortage in the top consuming country, India, where stocks have risen to a record high following aggressive imports in the last three months, according to industry officials.

Shivam Dwivedi
Imports increased stocks to a record 3.6 million tonnes as of February 1
Imports increased stocks to a record 3.6 million tonnes as of February 1

This is in stark contrast to last year, when a sudden change in Jakarta's export policies forced India to boost purchases from Malaysia, which was selling palm oil at record level prices at the time.

Indonesia announced last week that it will suspend some palm oil export permits in order to secure domestic supply as cooking oil prices rise ahead of the upcoming Islamic festival Ramadan. According to dealers, India's edible oil imports increased 25% year on year in the first quarter of the 2022/23 marketing year, which began on Nov. 1.

Imports increased stocks to a record 3.6 million tonnes as of February 1 compared to 1.83 million tonnes the previous year, they estimated.

"The restrictions imposed by Indonesia are unlikely to cause problems in India. Stock levels are satisfactory, "as per Ajay Jhunjhunwala, president of the Solvent Extractors' Association of India.

Rapeseed supplies from the new season's crop, which is expected to be 10% to 15% higher than last year's record harvest, will ramp up over the next month, increasing edible oil availability, he added.

According to a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house, Indonesia's export restrictions are likely to be lifted after Ramadan, which ends on April 21. "This year's game is a little different. There is an abundant supply of sunflower oil, which was restricted last year due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, "said the dealer.

As top exporters Russia and Ukraine seek to reduce stockpiles, India's January sunflower oil imports reached a record 473,000 tonnes, nearly tripling the average monthly imports. According to a Singapore-based dealer, buyers of palm oil will seek to increase purchases from Malaysia, the world's second largest exporter, but not to the same extent as last year.

Malaysian stocks reached 2.27 million tonnes at the end of January, up 3.26% from the previous month. "Last year, Indonesian farmers suffered as a result of the export ban. This year, Indonesia will not completely ban exports, but will limit them for a few weeks, "said the dealer.

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