Dhimant Bhatt

Mumbai, Feb. 3

DESPITE reduced inflows, groundnut oil prices, especially in Gujarat, may rule steady at current levels in the next few days due to restricted buying from oil packers and exporters.

Groundnut oil (loose) prices of average quality at the Rajkot oils market have declined by Rs 21 or 4 per cent to Rs 484 from Rs 505 for 10 kg in early January. Similarly, groundnut oil tin prices have dipped by Rs 30 or 4 per cent to Rs 750 for 15 kg for the past one month.

"Prices may move in the range between Rs 480 and Rs 505 per 10 kg at least in the next one month. Looking at the current demand supply scenario, prices are unlikely to go below the Rs 480-level," Mr Govindbhai G. Patel, Managing Partner of Dipak Enterprises, told Business Line.

Daily inflows of groundnut-in-shell at the major mandis of Saurashtra/Kutch region have declined to 30,000-35,000 bags (each of 35 kg) a day from the peak level of 80,000 bags recorded at the beginning of the current season. So far, about 60 per cent of the total crop has arrived. The total crop size for kharif season is expected to be around 15 lakh tonnes.

"New demand from oil packers is limited. Prices of other edible oils such as cottonseed oil are ruling lower. As a result, seasonal buying hasshifted to cottonseed oils to some extent," Mr Patel said. "On other hand, exporters' buying is extremely limited due to the price disparity. There are no fresh export commitments since the beginning of the current season."

Exports during the current season (November/October 2004-05) are expected to be around 14,000 tonnes, traders said. One shipment of 5,000 tonnes is scheduled for export from Kandla port during the current month.

Total exports during the previous season (2003-04) were around 1,11,256 tonnes, according to figures available with the Solvent Extractors' Association of India.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 4, 2005)
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