The cardamom market turned sluggish last week on slack demand from domestic and export markets at auctions.

Upcountry buyers slowed down buying, while exporters are believed to have stayed away saying prices were too high for their clients. Consequently, individual auction average dropped to below Rs 800 a kg, trade sources said.

The downward trend in prices is attributed to decline in the upcountry demand due to slow retail sales in most of the regions affected by severe cold, they said.

Normally, demand used to be thin for cardamom during December but it picks up in January, Mr P.C. Punnoose, General Manager, CPMC, told Business Line.

Arrivals last week fell to around 400 tonnes from 480 tonnes during the previous week due to drop in output coupled with a self imposed market intervention exercise to release small quantities following the decline in prices to below Rs 800 a kg, he said.

At the auction conducted on Sunday by the KCPMC, arrivals stood at 68.6 tonnes and almost the entire quantity was sold out. The maximum price was at Rs 1,070 and minimum was at Rs 544.

Auction average price dropped to Rs 786.71 from Rs 825.74 the previous Sunday, Mr Punnoose said.

Arrival of 8mm bold capsule was thin and that of good colour was fetching Rs 1,050-1,100, trade sources in Bodinayakannur said.

Total arrivals and sales during the current season from Aug 1 to Dec 16 were at 5,564 tonnes and 5,298 tonnes respectively.

The weighted average price as on Dec 16 stood at around Rs 767.41 .

Prices of graded varieties were marginally down and that in Rs/kg were AGEB: 980-990; AGB: 780-790; AGS: 745-755; and AGS-1: 720-730.

There had been a consistent decline in imports of cardamom during the past five years.

Imports declined further to 51 tonnes valued at Rs 3.62 crore in 2011-12.

The main reasons attributed to the fall in imports are mainly inferior quality and non-availability, market sources said.

(This article was published on December 17, 2012)
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