NEW DELHI: India's refined palm oil imports hit a record high in May by jumping 47.5 percent from a month ago, a leading trade body said, pushing total purchases of the tropical oil up for the first time since January on lower prices and tight supplies.
The world's leading buyer of vegetable oils imported 373,837 tonnes of refined palm oil in May, up for a third straight month, theSolvent Extractors' Association (SEA) said in a statement on Thursday.
The jump in refined palm oil purchases will raise the clamour for increasing import duties to protect local oilseed growers and refiners against cheaper product from major suppliers Indonesia and Malaysia.
But the Indian government is yet to pay any heed as inflation has only just reached comfortable levels.
Total palm oil imports in May stood at 771,869 tonnes, up 54.7 percent from the previous month, the monthly data released by the Mumbai-based trade body showed.
A Reuters survey had forecast average palm oil imports at 770,833 tonnes in May, including 333,333 tonnes of the refined variant.