As soyabean futures hit a record high of ₹9,106, Indore-based Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA) has urged National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) to take measures to curb the speculation in the oilseed complex.

Over the past seven trading sessions, soyabean futures have gained 22 per cent from ₹7,478 on July 15 to ₹9,106 on Monday. The contract hit the upper circuit four times during this period, SOPA said.

“The soybean futures contract on NCDEX has been completely taken over by the speculators. The contract is no longer a price discovery and hedging tool,” said Davish Jain, Chairman, SOPA, in a letter to NCDEX Managing Director Arun Raste on Monday, urging immediate steps to curb such speculation.

SOPA has requested NCDEX to increase the margin money from the current 25 per cent to 50 per cent for lean season contracts. Besides, it has suggested that circuit limit in lean season should be reduced to 2 per cent a day.

Soyabean futures gained 6 per cent on Monday, while in the spot market at Indore prices ended 1.61 per cent higher at ₹9,558 per quintal. Similarly, in Kota, Rajasthan, spot prices gained 1.44 per cent at ₹9,230 per quintal.

SOPA said the soyabean processing industry and aquaculture and poultry sectors, which use the end product the soya meal, has been affected badly because of the excessive speculation. Although the supply and demand situation for oil year 2020-21 is slightly tight, it does not support the kind of price rise seen in the last few months, Jain said. Further, there is no physical stock in NCDEX warehouses which is further fuelling the speculation, he added. SOPA said it is also taking up the issue with market regulator SEBI.

Meanwhile, SOPA, based on its field survey has estimated the soyabean acreage at 109.62 lakh hectares (lh) as against the Agriculture Ministry’s estimate ot 102.5 lh as on July 23. SOPA sees a 10 per cent increase in Maharashtra at 44 lh, while sowing has been affected in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh due to a ‘break’ in monsoon and erratic rainfall. SOPA estimates that the acreage is lower in MP by 17 per cent at 48.51 lh, while in Rajasthan the sowing has been lower by 24 per cent. In Karnataka and Gujarat, the acreage are higher by 10 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively.