G.K. Nair

Kochi, Aug 04

CARDAMOM prices improved by Rs 10-15 a kg thisweek at auctions held in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, presumably on reports of a possible crop loss due to vagaries of the weather.

At the auction conducted by the Cardamom Processing and Marketing Company (CPMC) at Kumily on Wednesday, the entire arrival of 30 tonnes was sold. Prices moved up by Rs 15 a kg, raising the average price to Rs 257 a kg. The maximum price quoted was Rs 384, while the minimum was Rs 136. Running bulk was sold at Rs 240-250 a kg. There was no export buying, Mr P.C. Punnoose, General Manger, CPMC, told Business Line.

According to him, 8mm capsules were totally absent in the arrivals and the 7mm cardamom fetched Rs 384 a kg.

Demand, though dull, was likely to improve in the coming months because of the ensuing festival and marriage season in the North Indian and other States, he said.

The prices of graded varieties as on August 1 were AGEB Rs 350-360 a kg, AGB Rs 240-Rs 250, AGS Rs 230-Rs 240 and AGS1 Rs 210-Rs 225.

Total arrivals during the current season, which had begun officially on August 1, up to the third of the month were 38 tonnes, of which 36 tonnes were sold.

During the same period last year, 11 tonnes were sold from the total arrival of 12 tonnes. The weighted average price so far Rs 231.35 a kg as against Rs 357.39 a kg last season. As harvesting began in early July, the arrivals, so far, has been on the higher side.

However, contrary to earlier expectations, production might drop by 10 to 15 per cent due to the widespread and heavy rains, accompanied by strong winds, in the cardamom-growing areas for about a fortnight.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 5, 2005)
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