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    Russia Eyes India’s Sunflower Oil Market Aiming to Topple Ukraine

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    Russia’s Efko Group shipped 16,000 metric tons of sunflower oil to an Indian refiner in January this year. The company expects shipments to grow to 200,000 metric tons in the next few years, hoping to make a serious dent in Ukraine’s 88 percent share of the Indian market.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Aiming to become a serious player in Indian edible oil market, Russia’s Efko Group supplied 16,000 metric tons of sunflower or sunoil to an Indian refiner this January. The Indian sunflower oil market is dominated by Ukraine, which supplied 88 percent of imports to the country in 2015-16.

    The import of sunflower oil increased sharply to 209,422 tonnes in February this year, from 87,028 tonnes in the year-ago period, according the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEAI). In the season ended in October last year, India purchased about 1.52 million tons of sunflower oil, as per SEAI data. Sunflower oil is mainly imported from Ukraine and Russia.

    In February 2017, Ukraine exported 442,000 metric tons of sunflower oil, according to data sourced from the website of UkrAgroConsult. Ukrainian exports primarily went to India, countries in the European Union and China.

    Meanwhile, Russia, stung by the sanctions imposed by Turkey, is looking to diversify its exports to India, which imports 70% of its edible oil.

    To meet India’s purchase criteria, Russian oil companies are upgrading their plants to meet ‘bleachability test’, which allow refiners to remove enough color from the crude product, according to Bloomberg.

    “East European countries like Ukraine have an advantage over other exporters like Argentina or US in sunflower oil due to geographic location, which helps them reduce freight costs and further helps in quoting a favorable price to Indian importers,” says Raghu Raman, a senior commodity expert working with New Delhi-based Agriwatch. “Although Ukraine dominates the share in sunflower oil imports, we also cannot miss the bigger picture that sunflower’s share is not even 20% in the overall edible oil basket.”


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