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Ruchi Soya sees edible oil imports down 9% in FY11

India's edible oil imports could drop 9% in the year to October due to higher domestic oilseed output, the managing director of Ruchi Soya Industries, the country's top importer of cooking oils, said.

May 17, 2011 / 07:55 PM IST
 
 
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India's edible oil imports could drop 9% in the year to October due to higher domestic oilseed output, the managing director of Ruchi Soya Industries, the country's top importer of cooking oils, said on Tuesday.


India, the world's biggest edible oil importer, bought 3.5 million tonnes of edible oils in the first half of FY11, down from 4.1 million tonnes in the year ago period.


Ruchi Soya itself hopes to import 1.6-2.0 million tonnes of edible oils in 2010-11 against 1.9 million tonnes bought in the previous year, Dinesh Shahra told Reuters in a telephone interview. "In terms of India's imports, clearly, there will be a reversal in trend this year, thanks to robust oilseed production in the country," Shahra said.


Also read: Ruchi Soya Q4 net up 25.8% on strong sales, exports


Edible oil imports by India, which buys more than half of its annual needs of 16.5 million tonnes, have been rising for the past five years. India mainly buys palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia. It also imports small quantities of soyoil from Brazil and Argentina. Malaysian benchmark palm oil prices have already fallen 14.1% so far this year on higher stocks in Malaysia, where production has risen.


Ruchi Soya, which is also India's top meal exporter, hopes to boost overseas sales of soymeal by 41% to 930,000 tonnes in the year to September, buoyed by a good soybean harvest and increased demand from Japan and Europe. "Our estimate is that India's soymeal exports will be about 4.1 million tonnes in the 2010-11 crop year versus about 2.2 million tonnes in 2009-10, including shipments to neighbouring countries Pakistan and Bangladesh," Shahra said.


He added that Japan's demand for oilmeal had perked up as the country recovers from twin disasters of earthquake and tsunami. Also, exports had been rising to Europe and the Gulf where India emerged as a long-term supplier of non-genetically modified meal, he said.

Ruchi Soya, which has already started oil palm cultivation in Ethiopia and Cambodia, plans to buy plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. "Instead of buying land and cultivating oil palm, we are looking at (mature) palm (plantations) in Indonesia and Malaysia," Shahra said.

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