ALTHOUGH it is the wedding season, the prices of edible oils have remained more or less steady throughout April till date on account of slow demand in the market. “Sluggish demand in retail has contained the prices from rising any further,” said Rajesh Thakkar, President of Oil Merchants Association and owner of Shantilal Oils
Pvt Ltd, Itwari while speaking to The Hitavada.
The edible oil prices across all varieties flared up in March and reached record high levels on account of lower production in the international market coupled with the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Thakkar said.
In the wholesale market, edible oils like soyabean oil is being quoted at Rs 2,600 for 15 kilogram (kg) tin, palm oil is being quoted at Rs 2,520 per 15 kg tin, groundnut oil prices are being quoted at Rs 2,700 for 15 kg tin and rice bran is being quoted at Rs 2,520 per 15 kg tin. While sunflower oil is priced at at Rs 2,620 for 15 litre tin, as compared to prices on March 15 at Rs 2,580 for 15 litre tin, a rise of Rs 40, he pointed out. In January soyabean oil price was at a low of Rs 2,150 to Rs 2,250 per 15 kg tin, palm oil at Rs 2,150 per 15 kg tin, groundnut oil at Rs 2,200 per 15 kg tin and sunflower oil at Rs 2,000 for 15 litre tin.
In retail, the soyabean edible oil prices are at Rs 170 to Rs 180 per litre, groundnut oil is being quoted at Rs 190 to Rs 195 per litre, sunflower oil at Rs 190 to Rs 200 per litre, palm oil at Rs 180 per kg and rice bran at Rs 170 per kg, he said.
“India is mostly dependent on international oil prices as imports constitute more than 60 per cent of the domestic consumption requirement in a year. India’s total domestic consumption is about 2.10 lakh tonne to 2.15 lakh tonne per year. While domestic production is 90 lakh tonne to 95 lakh tonne whereas the imports are nearly 1.15 lakh tonne annually,” he said.
Soyabean oil is imported from countries like Argentina, Brazil and US. Palm oil is imported from countries like Indonesia and Malaysia while sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia. The main reasons for the soyabean oil price rise is due to lower production of the crop in Argentina, Brazil and US. These three countries are the major producers of soyabean in the world. Due to bad climatic conditions the crop production declined. This has resulted in rise of soyabean prices in the international as well as domestic markets, he said.
Accordingly, Indonesia and Malaysia have hiked the export duty and introduced permit system resulting in palm oil prices to go northwards.
Similarly, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has resulted in supply constraints of sunflower oil.
It is expected that edible oil prices will cool down from their highs as the new crop from Brazil will arrive in March-April, Thakkar added.