Found in many aspects of our daily lives, palm oil is used in everything from household products, to our food, our workplaces, and even our vehicles.
The kitchen is one place where palm oil gets a lot of use. As prices for other cooking oils have been rising, the price of palm oil has dropped, contributing to increased imports. Prices have decreased 28 percent over the course of a year, according to Bloomberg. India in particular has seen a rise in imports over the last several months. Imports increased for the second month in a row in June.
Demand for cooking oil in India is currently at 17.5 million tons, but may significantly increase annually over the next six year. Estimates are that demand could rise to 23 million tons by 2020, according to an article compiled by Swansy Afonso of Bloomberg.
Import Genius’ database compiling shipments received in the port of Mumbai show that palm oil imports seem to be rebounding compared to activity throughout the last several years. In 2011, imports decreased throughout the year. Over 160 shipments were received in the first two quarters, while only 115 were received for the remainder of the year. Palm oil imports continued to decrease into 2012, but turned around throughout the last two quarters. Shipments doubled comparing the first and last half of 2012.
Global exports of Palm Oil to the US
The Import Genius pulse tool, used to identify industry and product trends, indicates that palm oil imports into the U.S. remained steady throughout the second half of 2012 but have actually slumped this year. Just the opposite is true comparing India’s import activity.
U.S. imports received during the last two quarters of 2012 outweighed imports for the first two quarters. Shipment counts of palm oil from January through June last year came in slightly short of 800, while about 1,000 shipments were received from July through December.
The start of 2013 saw an increase of imports as shipments steadily increased throughout the first quarter. Imports of the oil peaked in March but slowed at the start of the second quarter and numbers have continued to decrease since April.
According to Afonso’s data, India buys Palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, and their imports account for over half of the country’s demand. We looked at imports over the last several years to gain an understanding of regions from which the US imports palm oil.
Pulling shipment records to date so far this year, Malaysia is the top exporting country while palm oil shipments from Hong Kong come in second.
Looking back through 5 years of data, Malaysia has consistently been the top exporter of palm oil to the U.S. Other top exporting countries are China, Singapore and Spain.
Overall palm oil imports have certainly fluctuated in the last few years. You can view the pulse on palm oil imports into the US here.