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India asks refiners to stop buying Malaysian palm oil after political row


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India has informally asked palm oil refiners and traders to avoid buying Malaysian palm oil, government and industry sources said on Tuesday, following Malaysian criticism of India's actions in the Kashmir region and its new citizenship law.

India is the world's biggest buyer of the oil and palm oil inventories could spike in Malaysia, putting prices under pressure if Indian refiners reduce purchases from the country. Malaysian prices are the global benchmark for palm oil prices.

A senior official in India's vegetable oil industry, who did not wish to be named, said the government had asked refiners at a meeting attended by two dozen vegetable oil industry officials in New Delhi on Monday to boycott Malaysia.

"In Monday's meeting we have been verbally told to avoid buying Malaysian palm oil," the official said.

"We've had various rounds of meetings within the government and industry to see how we could reduce imports from Malaysia," one Indian government official said, adding India has yet to firm up a plan of action and is exploring various options.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has angered India over his comments on India's actions in Kashmir and over a new Indian citizenship law, which critics say chips away at India's secular foundations and could be used by to discriminate against Muslims.


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