India’s oilmeal exports continue to slide in January: SEA

16 Feb 2022 | Regina Koh

Exports of oilseed meals from India continued their downward trend in January, falling by 65% against the same period last year, led by declines in exports of soymeal and rapemeals, figures released from the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) showed on Wednesday.

Provisional data from SEA pegged India’s oilmeal exports in January at 176,815 mt, down from 501,552 mt a year ago but higher by 3.6% against December.

India’s total oilmeals exports for the first ten months of the current financial year – April 1 2021-March 31 2022 – came to 1.94 million mt, a 35% drop from a year ago which mostly stemmed from a steep decline in soymeal exports.

Soymeal exports from April-January were pegged at 315,108 mt, 73% lower against the same period last year, although exports in January alone were at 52,771 mt, the highest since the start of the financial year.

“Soybean crush margins in India are currently squeezed by pressure on meal prices and relatively high price expectations of farmers for soybean seed which is currently quoted over INR6,900 per quintal ($919/mt),” SEA said.

Reduced soybean crushing has also led to higher import demand for crude soybean oil, with India taking in 391,158 mt of soyoil in January, a 341% y-o-y increase.

Rapemeal exports in January were also higher on the month by 24.5% to 16,164 mt but still a far cry from the season’s high of 177,822 mt in April 2021. Rapeseed feedstock availability continues to remain limited for the crushing industry after the market consumed most of last year’s rapeseed crop earlier in the season.

New crop for crushing will likely be available from end of February or early March.

The weak soybean crush margins coupled with the lack of rapeseed feedstock have supported domestic meal prices whilst keeping exports uncompetitive.

“India is unlikely to be competitive for export in the next two to three months due to the high price of domestic soybean seed,” SEA commented.

Average export prices in January for Indian soymeal have risen by 44% on the year to $760/mt, the highest since September when prices hit $1069/mt. Rapemeal prices averaged at its highest so far in the season at $337/mt, a 15% increase on the year.

India is currently outpriced for soymeal exports with ex-Kandla prices quoted at $785/mt against $595/mt and $575/mt ex-Rotterdam for soymeal from Brazil and Argentina respectively, the association also noted.