India's June palm oil imports jumped 49% from the previous month to their highest in three months as buyers took advantage of a dip in prices to their lowest in 28 months to increase purchases, six dealers told Reuters.
A rebound in buying by the world's biggest vegetable oil importer would support Malaysian palm oil futures and help top producers Indonesia and Malaysia to trim inventories.
Palm oil imports by India rose to 655,000 metric tons in June, up from 439,173 metric tons in May, according to average estimates from the dealers.
May imports were the lowest since February 2021 as the tropical oil started trading at a premium to soyoil and sunflower oil over the past few months, prompting buyers to shift to the cheaper soft oils.
But lower imports in May and the price correction encouraged Indian buyers to increase purchases in June, said Sandeep Bajoria, CEO of Sunvin Group, a vegetable oil brokerage and consultancy firm.
Price-sensitive Asian buyers typically rely on palm oil because of the low cost and quick shipping times.
The Solvent Extractors' Association of India is likely to publish its June vegetable oil import data by mid-July.
India's soyoil imports in June surged 35% from a month ago to 432,000 metric ton, according to the dealers.
Soyoil's premium over palm oil had been negligible in the last few months, which is pushing buyers to increase purchases, said Rajesh Patel, managing partner at GGN Research, an edible oil trader and broker.
Sunflower oil imports in June plunged 36% from a month ago to 190,000 metric tons, dealers said.
India buys palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, while it imports soyoil and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.