India's edible oil imports could jump to record as scanty rains trim output - analyst

MUMBAI, July 22 (Reuters) - India’s edible oil imports are likely to rise 7.3% in 2019/20 to a record high as scanty monsoon rains are expected to curtail yields of summer-sown oilseeds such as soybeans and groundnut, a senior industry official said.

Higher purchases by the world’s biggest edible oil importer could support palm oil prices that are under pressure due to sluggish demand amid an expected rise in production.

“Rainfall was scanty over oilseed-growing areas. It will reduce yields of groundnut, soybeans and cotton,” said Govindbhai Patel, managing director of trading firm G.G. Patel & Nikhil Research Company.

The shortfall in oilseed production will force India to import as much as 16.1 million tonnes of edible oils in the new marketing year starting from Nov.1, up from this year’s estimated 15 million tonnes, Patel said.

India has received 18% below-average rain since the monsoon season began on June 1, although some oilseed-growing regions such as Vidarbha in the western state of Maharashtra received 37% less rainfall, according to data compiled by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)