Market News & Headlines >> India Raises Edible Oil Duties

India, the world's biggest importer of edible oils, on Thursday raised its import duties on crude and refined soyoil, sunflower oil and canola oil to the highest levels in more than a decade in an effort to support local farmers. 

India’s government raised the import duty on crude soyoil to 35% from 30%, while hiking duties on crude canola oil and sunflower oil to 35% from 25%. Duties on refined soyoil, canola oil and sunflower oil went to 45% from 35%. 

The move is expected to boost India’s imports of palm oil, which had been suffering because palm oil was subject to a higher import duty than the competing oils. In March, India raised its import tax on crude palm oil to 44% from 30% and lifted the tax on refined palm oil to 54% from 40%. The country’s monthly palm oil imports hit a 4-1/2 year low in May, while soyoil and sunflower oil imports surged, according to the Solvent Extractors Association of India. 

India buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia; while its soyoil imports come primarily from Argentina and Brazil, and it purchases sunflower oil from Ukraine. 

Palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia exchange rallied Thursday and Friday on news of the tax hike, but have since plunged to two-year lows under pressure from weakness in soyoil prices amid U.S.-China trade tensions.