India’s import duty revision reduces CPO competitiveness

KUALA LUMPUR: Research firms believe that India’s import duty hike on crude palm oil (CPO) will reduce the price competitiveness of the commodity against other edible oils in the country, resulting higher cooking oil price with higher duties.

CGS-CIMB, in a research note on Wednesday, said the move would be a negative development for palm oil as the revised effective import duty for CPO of 35.75 per cent is 5.5 per cent ppts higher and result in higher palm oil price for consumers in India.

“We estimate the revision will reduce CPO advantage in terms of duty gap against other competing edible oils like crude soybean oil, from 8.25 per cent ppts to only 2.75 per cent ppts,” it said.

India cut the import duty on CPO from 27.5 per cent to 15 per cent, effective Feb 2, 2021 in its Budget 2021.

It also lowered the import duty for crude soybean oil and crude sunflower oil from 35 per cent to 15 per cent, while imposing the new 17.5 per cent agriculture infrastructure and development (AID) cess on palm oil and 20 per cent AID cess on soybean oil and sunflower oil.

“After the introduction of additional cess, the effective tax difference between CPO and refined palm olein narrows to 13.75 per cent from 19.25 per cent previously,” it said.

As such, the research house said the revision will cause negative impact for India’s palm oil refining industry and could favour imports of processed palm oil over CPO into India.

This was in view of the high export levy and export tax currently imposed on CPO in Indonesia, making Indonesian palm oil refiners more competitive, it said.

CGS-CIMB also viewed that the new revision would be a slight positive for Malaysian and Indonesian refiners, as well as Indian farmers although it would be negative for upstream plantation companies and Indian refiners.

Similarly, Maybank Kim Eng said the increase on import duty has eroded the price advantage of CPO vis-à-vis other crude and refined vegetable oils.

“With the new revision, the import duty differential between CPO and other crude vegetable oils has now narrowed to just 2.5 per cent in Feb 2021 compared to 7.5 per cent in Nov 2020,” it said, adding that CPO would lose some market share back to sunflower or soybean oils.

In general, the research firm expects slower import of CPO by India in coming months as the country has somewhat rebuilt its inventories over the past few months with stockpile at 1.815 million tonnes as at Jan 1, 2021.

“Positively, after recent CPO price correction, the third month CPO futures is now at $110 per tonne discount to US soybean oil at the close of the Bursa Malaysia Derivative Exchange on Feb 2.

“The widened discount is seen to be supportive of demand again, compared to near price parity a month ago,” it added. – Bernama