Market News & Headlines >> India Hikes Edible Oil Import Duties

India, the world’s largest importer of edible oils, has raised import duties on those oils to the highest levels in more than a decade in an effort to support its farmers and oilseed crushers, who have struggled to compete with cheap imports. 

The news sent Asian palm oil futures and CBOT soybean oil futures prices tumbling on Monday in anticipation of lower Indian imports. 

India doubled its import duty on crude palm oil to 30%, while raising the duty on refined palm oil to 40% from 25% earlier, the government said in an order issued late on Friday. The import tax on crude soybean oil was increased to 30% from 17.5%, while the tax on refined soybean oil was raised to 35% from 20%, it said. 

Cheap edible oil imports from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina were hurting demand for local rapeseed and soybeans, even after steep fall in domestic oilseed prices. 

Even after the duty increase, India will need to import about 15.5 million metric tons of edible oils in 2017/18, down from earlier estimate of 15.9 million tons, but up from last year's 15 million, Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive of the Sunvin group, a vegetable oil importer, told Reuters News Service. India relies on imports for 70% of its edible oil consumption, up from 44% in 2001/02.