Pakistan may import as much as 180,000 tons of palm oil for July and has covered a lot of its requirement of the vegetable oil ahead of the fasting month of Ramazan, a top industry official said on Wednesday.
Ramazan will start in the first week of August, boosting edible oil consumption in the country.
“Pakistan has already covered a lot for Ramazan requirement by buying huge volumes for June and July shipment,” Rasheed Janmohammad, Vice-chairman of Pakistan Edible Oil Refiners’ Association, told Reuters.
“It is expected that June volume would be around 150,000 tons and for July, it could be between 175,000 and 180,000 tons.”
Pakistan, the world’s fourth-largest buyer of vegetable oils, imports 80 per cent of its palm oil, with Malaysia providing roughly 90 per cent of that and the rest coming from Indonesia.
Janmohammad, however, pointed out that importers, who stocked up for Ramazan at high rates, had taken a hit as global palm oil prices dipped in the past 10 days.
Malaysian palm oil futures KPOc3 rose 1.5 per cent on Wednesday as traders continued to adjust their positions and eye strong export data after the market fell to an eight-month low earlier this week. It has dropped about five per cent in 10 trading sessions.
Malaysia – the world’s second largest palm oil producer – shipped 109,885 tons of palm oil products between June 1-25 to Pakistan, according to the Malaysian cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance. Janmohammad said about 15,000 tons was likely to come from Indonesia.
Pakistan charges 15 per cent less duty than the standard rate on Malaysian crude palm oil import under a 2007 tariff agreement. Indonesia had been pushing Pakistan for the same terms, but talks between the two countries on a preferential trade agreement have hit a deadlock.
Pakistan imported 1.79 million tons of palm oil products and crude palm oil in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2010-11, up more than 16 per cent from the same period a year ago, according to official estimates. The country’s annual edible oil consumption is more than three million tons.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2011.
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