G.K. Nair

Kochi, Dec. 22

GOOD export buying, first-ever during the current season, has pushed up cardamom prices by Rs 10-15 a kg at the Kumily auction on Wednesday.

Arrivals at the auction conducted by the Cardamom Processing and Marketing Company (CPMC) at Kumily stood at 77.5 tonnes and almost the entire quantity was sold out, Mr P.C. Punnoose, General Manager, CPMC, told Business Line. The exporters alone bought around 35 tonnes and that has helped the prices to move up. The domestic dealers were also buying but without showing much enthusiasm.

The exporters appear to have firm orders in hand from overseas, he said. Attributing the export demand to the rock bottom prices, which is almost equal to that of Guatemala cardamom and the reported future short supply from the other origin, he said, "If this trend continued, the demand might go up in the coming months". Besides, the flavour profile of Indian cardamom is superior. The Indian price at present is $ 7 a kg for AGEB variety, he said.

Maximum price at the Wednesday auction was Rs 410 a kg for 8mm bold, while the minimum Rs 165. The average price moved up to Rs 235 a kg from Rs 223 at the previous auction on December 14.

The arrivals and the sales through auctions during the current season is the highest in the history of the trade, official sources pointed out.

As on December 21, the total arrivals stood at 5,057 tonnes against 2,916 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. Sales were at 4,741 tonnes against 2,739 tonnes. The weighted average price, however, remained at Rs 225.93 against Rs 301.16 a kg last season. The average price of individual auctions from December 15 to December 21 dwindled between Rs 183.59 a kg (at CPA auction Bodinayakannur on December 19) and Rs 227.06 (at CPMC auction act Kumily on December 21).

Prices of graded varieties as on December 17 were AGEB Rs 300 - 310 a kg, AGB Rs 215-225, AGS Rs 200 - 210 and AGS 1 Rs 175 - 190.

Local prices at Bodinayakannur on Thursday were AGEB Rs 300 - 310, AGB Rs 200 - 210, AGS Rs 190 - 200 and AGS 1 Rs 170 - 180 a Kg.

If the current buying trend of the exporters were any indication, shipments during December are expected to touch 150 tonnes against the exports in November estimated at 125 tonnes, export sources pointed out.

According to trading sources, the peak-picking season is over with two-third of the crop having harvested. The remaining one-third would be picked from January - April. However, if the current weather conditions prevailed with intermittent summer showers there is a possibility that the crop would be available throughout the year, they added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 23, 2005)
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