Veg oil imports to surge 7% to a record 10.9 million tonnes
New Delhi: Country's vegetable oils imports are likely to rise 7 percent to reach all-time high of 10.9 million tonne in 2012-13 marketing year ending October, pushed up by higher consumption, according to an expert.
"India's imports of edible and non-edible oils during the oil year November 12 to October 13 will also break all records," Godrej International Director Dorab Mistry said in his paper presented today in Kuala Lumpur.
He expects that the government would increase the import duty on crude as well as refined edible oils to protect domestic farmers and oilseeds processors.
Presenting the supply-demand situation, Mistry has pegged vegetable oil imports at 10.9 million tonne in 2012-13 oil marketing year (November-October) as against record 10.2 million tonnes in the previous year.
Consumption is expected to rise to 17.5 million tonne in 2012-13 from 16.5 million tonne in the previous year.
"The Indian government is very concerned about food price inflation. So far it has only imposed import duties of 2.5 percent on unrefined oils and 7.5 percent on refined oils. It has also unfrozen the Tariff Value on which import duty is calculated.
"I expect in April or latest May, the government will assess food price inflation once again and then revise the import duty on unrefined oil to 10 percent and on refined oil to 17.5 percent," Mistry said.
He noted that the Economic Survey clearly states the intention of the government to support prices of domestic oilseeds and oils, using the instrument of import duties.
"I therefore expect that by August-September 2013, the import duty on unrefined oil will be further hiked to 20 per cent and on refined oil to 27.5 per cent," Mistry said.