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Thursday, Dec 19, 2002

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Agri-Biz & Commodities - Spices & Condiments

Cardamom steady on active buying

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, Dec. 18

CARDAMOM prices ruled steady at auctions held in Kerala and Tamil Nadu last week.

Average price last week stood at Rs 505 a kg. Domestic and export buyers were by and large active. Last month, around 70 tonnes were exported and it is expected to maintain at this level in December also, market sources told Business Line.

In the domestic market, North Indian dealers were not keeping stock for fear of further price fall as many had burnt their fingers in the recent past. Hence they are buying just to meet the market requirement only.

On the other hand, arrivals of superior grades (both variety) have dropped as major growers are holding it back anticipating a price increase in the coming months. Besides, crop conditions have changed following the dry spell experienced in the growing areas of Kerala's Idukki district.

If the present situation is any indication, there could be a drop of 5-10 per cent in the crop in the coming weeks, according to field officers of the Spices Board. Earlier, given the then prevailing favourable weather conditions it was anticipated that there could be an increase in the production. But the scenario has now changed now. However, the total production during the current season is expected to maintain at last year's level.

There is a decline in the buying activity of the pan masala industry, which used to absorb around 3,000 tonnes annually. The demand is for medium varieties and hence the prices of these grades remained steady.

Prices of different grades on December 17 were AGEB Rs 595-605, AGB Rs 585-595, AGS Rs 510-520 and AGS 1 Rs 465-475 per kg.

Total arrivals during the current season up to December 16 stood at 1,931.5 tonnes as against 2,043 tonnes in the same period last season. The total quantity sold this year up to December 16 was 1,731 tonnes at an average price of Rs 619.66 per kg. Where as it was 1,880 tonnes at the average price of Rs 600.09 per kg in the corresponding period last season.

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