(Corrects paragraph 9 to remove extraneous reference to refined
MUMBAI, Oct 15 (Reuters) - India imported 111,163 tonnes of
refined palm oil in September, a leading trade body said on
Monday, an increase of 39.9 percent from August, exceeding
expectations in a rise traders attributed to purchases ahead of
the country's festival season.
Total vegetable oil imports in September were 993,912
tonnes, up from 897,018 tonnes in the previous month, the
Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA) said in a statement.
India, the world's top importer of vegetable oils, buys
mainly palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. It also imports a
small quantity of soyoil from Brazil and Argentina.
"The festive season and lower prices of palm oil also
boosted the demand," said Faiyaz Hudani, a senior analyst at
Kotak Commodities, referring to the Hindu festivals of Dussehra
later this month and Diwali, the festival of lights, early in
November, which are traditionally a time of peak consumption.
Some refined palmolein bought in earlier deals arrived last
month as sellers refused to convert those volumes to the crude
variant after India hiked the import cost of refined palm oil
from Aug. 1, traders said.
"Some deferred refined palmolein contracts arrived last
month," said Sat Narain Agarwal, a Delhi-based trader.
The Reuters survey had forecast average vegetable oil
imports of 956,625 tonnes in September, with 61,250 tonnes of
refined palm oils.
India's refined palm oil imports rose more than 57 percent
to 1.5 million tonnes in the first 11 months of the marketing
year from November 2011 after top producer Indonesia changed its
tax structure in October last year.
Total palm oil imports rose last month as overseas purchases
of the crude variety rose, fuelled by low prices caused by
higher stocks in Malaysia, the world's No. 2 producer.
Lower prices for palm oil also widened the commodity's
premium to rival soft oils such as soy and sunflower, which
could cause a decline in their share of September imports,
traders said in the survey.
Overall palm oil imports rose 19.18 percent to 837,417
tonnes but soyoil purchases fell 47 percent to 59,000 tonnes.
Imports of sunflower oil rose about 16 percent to 80,000 tonnes
Total imports of vegetable oil, including small amounts of
non-edible oils, rose 10.8 percent from August to 993,912
tonnes, boosted by a surge in the import of refined palm oil.
(Reporting by Meenakshi Sharma; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)