How India’s Taste for Soy Oil Has Fueled a Surge in Imports – India Real Time – WSJ

Indians are acquiring a strong taste for soybean oil thanks to lower prices, fueling a surge in imports at a helpful time for a global market struggling with a glut of the commodity.

India’s imports of soybean oil have quadrupled in the last five years to more than 4 million metric tons this year, according to data compiled by the country’s vegetable oils industry body. India’s soybean oil imports are expected to rise over the next 10 years by as much as 40%, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated in May.

Soybean oil, produced by crushing soybeans, is used in everything from cooking oil to cookies and lipstick.

In India, they are favored for cooking samosas, dosas and curries, but the relatively high price of soy oil was a deterrent for many consumers in the country. India’s gross domestic product per capita grew 6.9% from a year earlier to $6,200 in 2015, but remained much lower than the U.S. with GDP per capita of $55,800, according to U.S. estimates.

India dethroned China two years ago as the world’s largest importer of soy oil. Some Indian consumers who have switched to soy oil cited the steep drop in prices—35% since 2012. Prices of palm oil, its main rival used widely in restaurants and by poorer Indians, have mostly been moving sideways.

“Demand from India will certainly play a role in absorbing excess soy-oil supplies,” said Vamsi Krishna Kona, a trader at Inditrade Derivatives & Commodities.

Source: How India’s Taste for Soy Oil Has Fueled a Surge in Imports – India Real Time – WSJ

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