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Edible oil consumption to hit 22.5 mln tons in 2008
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Chinese edible oil consumption is likely to reach 22.4 million tons in 2008, up 1.5 million tons from last year's 21 tons, a high-ranking official from the State Grain Administration (SGA) said on Saturday.

According to SGA statistics, Chinese consumption of edible oil increased at a stable rate due to the improved life brought by the economic boom. The consumption per capita now reached 17 kilograms annually, almost doubling that of a decade ago.

A potential shortage in edible oil has been recognized, resulting from the enhanced consumption and increasing need for soybean meals.

Two-thirds of edible oil materials in China, the largest global consumer, rely on imports. According to General Administration of Customs statistics, imports of edible oil and soybean reached 8.38 million tons and 30.82 million tons, respectively, last year, up 1.69 million tons and 2.58 million tons year on year.

According to SGA sources, the price of edible oil is likely to jump this year due to a global shrinking of soybean planting areas since 2006. Increasing international shipment fees, as well as mounting domestic consumption, are other factors.

(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008)

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