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Saturday, Jan 03, 2004

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Uptrend in pepper futures on speculative buying

G.K. Nair

Kochi , Jan. 2

SPOT pepper prices ruled steady, while futures showed an upward trend on speculative buying by upcountry operators. However, the international market is in a holiday mood.

In spot sales, prices of MG 1 and ungarbled remained steady at last Saturday's price of Rs 6,900 and Rs 6,600, respectively per quintal. However, futures prices moved up on speculative buying.

Futures prices for January were at Rs 7,049 as against Rs 6,730 on December 27, February Rs 6,934 (Rs 6,868), March Rs 7,066 (Rs 6,998), April Rs 7,202 (Rs 6,894), May Rs 7,290 (Rs 7,192) and June Rs 7,392 (Rs 7,318) per quintal.

However, there had not been any demand from overseas buyers as "we are out-priced", market sources told Business Line. Only those exporters who had committed in November/December are buying. The real position would be known only when the markets re-open on January 5, they said.

International players were offering MLSVB at $1,400 per tonne, Indonesia at $1,350 and Brazil at $1,300 per tonne. Vietnam, however, is waiting for the new crop to arrive, which is expected by mid-February.

Even though India is the only source for bold and good black pepper during January and February, there has been no demand so far as the buyers seem to be waiting for pepper of other origins to arrive.

Because of the ensuing Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and the severe cold conditions prevailing in the entire North India, there is good domestic demand. Large-scale buying,directly from the primary market and transportation to upcountry markets, has squeezed the arrivals at the terminal market.

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