India's top palm oil buyer expects 23% jump in imports

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A farmer prepares to unload oil palm bunches from a tractor trolley in a mill at Dwaraka Tirumala

AGRA, India (Reuters) -India's palm oil imports could jump 23% in 2022/23 to an eight-year high of 9.5 million tonnes, as a rebound in consumption and competitive prices prompt refiners to increase purchases, the country's top palm oil buyer said.

"Palm is very attractive as prices are under pressure because of stocks," Sanjeev Asthana, chief executive officer at Patanjali Foods Ltd, said on the sidelines of Globoil conference.

Palm oil's big discount to soyoil is unsustainable and it is likely to narrow in the coming months, he said.

Palm oil futures have dropped nearly half from their record highs and palm oil is again at a sizeable discount to rival oils, dealers said.

Palm oil is offered at $950 a tonne including cost, insurance and freight (CIF) to India for October shipment, compared with $1,250 for crude soyoil, according to them.

Higher palm oil imports could bring down the country's soyoil imports to around 3 million tonnes from 4.1 million tonnes in the current year ending Oct. 31, Asthana said.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Subhranshu Sahu)