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India’s Edible Oil Inventory Running 16% lower than Last Year

India’s edible oils stocks till August were nearly 16% lower versus last year same period. Though the off-take of vegetable oils edible oils has been adversely affected this year, due to the Pandemic, domestic demand started improving slowly as the lockdown restrictions eased, trade between state/country borders resumed.

Abhijeet Banerjee

India’s Edible Oils Inventories till end of August 2020 were running nearly 16% lower than August 2019 and were almost unchanged in comparison to the previous month. Vegetable oil inventory in the country had reached historic lows after March as imported halted altogether when India had announced a complete lockdown. Though the off-take of vegetable oils edible oils has been adversely affected this year, due to the Pandemic subdued, but domestic demand started improving slowly as the lockdown restrictions eased, trade between state/country borders resumed. As a result, consumption of edible oils improved significantly.  

Trade estimates indicate that the June-end inventory of vegetable oils was roughly 25% lower than the same period last year. The supply pipeline was quite empty during this period and needed to be replenished quickly as domestic demand increased post lifting of lockdown restrictions.

According to traders and solvent extractors, due to depleting stocks, nearly whole of the imported arrivals during June was absorbed. As a result supplies turned scarce, against improving demand situation. Therefore imports rose in July and August months. Imports during June also remained strong.   

India’s Edible Oil Inventory Statistics 

Source: MPOB 

Imports of vegetable oils stood at 13.70 lakh tonnes in August 2020, as per the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) data. Similarly Edible oil imports stood at 13.08 lakh tonnes. While Vegetable oils are down 14% compared to August 2019, Edible oil imports are lower by 14.11% versus last year same period. The local edible oil imports had attained an 11 month high of 15.17 lakh tonnes during the month of July. Because of pandemic affected lower consumption from Hotel, Restaurant, Café, imports are overall down versus year on year. 

As compared to August 2019, India's palm oil imports in August 2020 have fallen by 13.9% to 7.34 lakh tonnes. Likewise Soy oil imports dropped by 10.4% year-on-year to 3.94 lakh tonnes for the same period in comparison. Total vegetable oils import during November 2019-August 2020 is also down by 13%. 

Imports in coming months is likely to continue, but may not rise much, in view of the forthcoming festival season but rising prices shall limit the imports buying interest Overall the festivals will be a little subdued this year as lockdown is not lifted completed since the pandemic is not yet under control. Comparing the stocks between August and July months, Palm oil stocks have fallen by 9%, although stocks of Soya Oil have increased by 40%. On the other hand Sun Flower Oil inventory is down by 9%. 

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