Commodities

Dry spell could affect next cardamom crop

GK Nair Kochi | Updated on April 29, 2014 Published on April 29, 2014

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Strong demand despite moderate arrivals pushed up cardamom prices last week at auctions. Absence of summer rains in 95 per cent of the growing areas this year has raised fears in the market that the next crop would not only be delayed but would also be less, market sources told Business Line.

Therefore, upcountry dealers were buying actively. Besides, those who postponed buying ever since the elections process began, have also started covering now, they said.

There is also an apprehension in the market of a late crop this year because of continuous dry spell in the cardamom growing tracts. The summer rains, which have been active in the midlands of Kerala, have eluded the main cardamom growing areas in the high ranges, growers in Kumily told Business Line. “We are badly in need of one or two good showers now. Plants have started withering unable to withstand the high temperature,” a grower said.

The individual auction average on Thursday crossed ₹900/kg last week and on Sunday, it stood at ₹929 on demand. Export buying shrunk as no fresh orders were received following an upsurge in prices, exporters said. They attributed this phenomenon to the release of cardamom by Guatemala which was holding back its stocks for the prices to move up. They continued to offer to the main market for the commodity in West Asia at competitive rates. Prices of exportable variety 7 mm plus capsules are sold at ₹1,000-50 a kg. Exporters have bought an estimated 20 tonnes of capsules.

According to PC Punnoose, General Manager, CPMC, Kumily, arrivals are expected to be around 50 tonnes per auction as the stocks held by growers have been, by and large, liquidated. He said the supply of cardamom from the estates/farms has ended and whatever material arrives at present is from the stocks held by dealers who had bought earlier when the prices were at lower levels.

At the KCPMC auction, 75 tonnes of cardamom arrived and almost the entire quantity was sold out, Punnoose said. The maximum price was ₹1,123 and the minimum ₹527. Auction average rose to ₹929 a kg, he said.

During the current season ending July, arrivals are 18,744 tonnes against 11,803 tonnes during the same period a year ago. Sales were 18,223 tonnes against 11,251 tonnes. The weighted average price as on April 27 was ₹627.33 (₹734.80).

Prices of graded varieties (₹/kg): AGEB 1,060-70; AGB 860-870; AGS 830-840 and AGS -1: 810-820. Bulk prices ranged between ₹480 and ₹1,200 a kg.

Published on April 29, 2014
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