India to import record 13 mln T edible oils next year -Ruchi Soya exec
By Mayank Bhardwaj and Rajendra Jadhav
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI, Sept 24 (Reuters) - India's overseas purchases of edible oil in the year starting November are set to surge to a record 13 million tonnes, an executive at key importer Ruchi Soya said, as lower prices, rising population and higher incomes boost consumption.
Higher purchases by India, the world's top importer of cooking oils, could support benchmark Malaysian palm oil futures that hit a five-year low earlier this month and have shed almost a fifth of their value so far in 2014.
Of the estimated total 2014/15 Indian imports, more than 9 million tonnes will be palm oil, Dinesh Shahra, managing director of Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd, India's biggest edible oil buyer, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.
In the current year, edible oil imports are pegged at 11.6 million tonnes, including 8 million tonnes of palm oil, he said.
India imported a record 10.4 million tonnes of edible oils in the 2012/13 year, data from Mumbai-based industry body Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) showed.
Rising population, increasing prosperity and less-than-satisfactory monsoon rains would boost next year's edible oil imports, B. V. Mehta, executive director of the SEA said ahead of a global vegetable oils conference starting Friday.
"Our per capita consumption is going up by 3-4 percent every year and our population is expanding at 22 million every year. That in itself leads to an increase of 300,000 tonnes in vegetable oils consumption," Mehta said.
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