March palm oil imports up 57% year on year, says trade body

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Palm oil fruits are seen placed on a wheelbarrow at a palm oil farm in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's palm oil imports in March jumped 57% year on year as refiners increased purchases of the tropical oil to reduce expensive sunflower oil imports, a trade body said on Thursday.

The country imported 526,463 tonnes of palm oil last month, while soyoil imports eased by 3% to 284,200 tonnes, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

The country's sunflower oil imports halved to 146,970 tonnes in March after prices more than doubled in a year, it added.

India buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia while other oils, including soyoil and sunflower oil, are sourced from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.

India's rising edible oil imports could be kept in check in the coming months by a record crop of rapseed mustard, the SEA said.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by David Goodman)