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Palm oil duty pegged to higher base price

Mumbai, Nov. 17: The government has revised the tariff value for crude palm oil to $504 (Rs 22,841) per metric tonne from $472 — the third such revision in a month — to keep pace with the rising global prices for edible oil.

The finance ministry has also introduced a new category of “others-palmolein” for levying duty on the commodity fixing its base price at $542 per tonne, cost insurance and freight.

According to a notification issued by the ministry, the base price for crude palm oil has been raised to $504 per tonne from $472 a tonne. That of RBD palm oil has been raised to $543 per tonne from $503 a tonne.

In case of “others” category of palm oil, the base price would now be $523 a tonne up from $484 per tonne. The corresponding increase in base price for crude palmolein has been to $532 a tonne, up from $497 a tonne.

The move comes at a time when edible oil imports have created new records. During 2002-03 (Nov-Oct) imports have crossed 51.1 lakh tonnes, 16 per cent more than 44.25 lakh tonnes in the corresponding previous period

Palm oil products import has increased by 8.79 lakh tonnes to 38.09 lakh tonnes from 29.30 lakh tonnes, representing 74 per cent of the total import. Palm oil imports comprised 64 per cent last year and 61 per cent in 2000-01. It is the highest-ever since India started import of edible oil.

The rise in edible oil prices is attributed to the failure of the US soya bean crop, which has reported a shortfall of 10 lakh tonnes this year. As a result, palmolein prices surged.

However, edible oil makers were not surprised by the development. “The notified rates are still lower than international prices,” said B. V. Mehta, executive director of the Solvent Extractors' Association of India.

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