Second wave of pandemic hurts bullish sentiment in jeera

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on April 12, 2021

Prices correct 4% after surging 14% since the start of the year

After briefly hitting a recent high earlier this month, jeera (cumin seed) prices are headed downward following higher arrivals coupled with weak demand due to lockdown concerns amidst the second wave of the pandemic.

NCDEX April Jeera futures hit a recent peak of ₹14,790 per quintal on April 6, surging by 14 per cent from ₹12,960 a quintal from the start of the year in January 2021.

The downward trend began by the end of last week due to lockdown concerns in the key consuming markets in the metros and major urban pockets. On Friday, the Futures prices settled at ₹14,175 per quintal paring about 4 per cent in the previous three sessions.

“The lockdown concerns in the key consuming markets are hampering the sentiment. The crop is good and arrivals are also higher than last year. We are seeing good overseas demand too, but the latest Covid-19 surge has caused much uncertainty about the demand,” said Vijay Joshi a leading exporter at Unjha.

Jeera arrivals at Unjha market reported at 42,663.70 tonnes between March 1 and April 10, about 32 per cent higher than 32,145 tonnes reported during the same period last year.

Trader sources informed that the arrivals were higher on the back of good crop and surging prices. “The prices have been on the rise during the past one month and it hit a recent high earlier this month. As a result, arrivals increased and will continue for the rest of April. However, due to lockdown concerns and impact on consumption, we feel the prices will fall as arrival pressure mounts,” said a jeera trader at Unjha APMC. The APMC was under lockdown for Saturday and Sunday as part of the voluntary lockdown of Unjha town as new infections kept rising in the region.

The Federation of Indian Spice Stakeholders (FISS) had projected jeera crop size for 2020-21 at 4.79 lakh tonnes, which was projected to be about 10.6 per cent lower than 5.35 lakh tonnes the previous year. The new crop has started arriving in both the key producing states Gujarat and Rajasthan. The higher moisture content in the new crop gave a crucial support to the prices from falling from the current levels. Also a lower output projection by the trade body accompanied by exports is likely to be crucial factors for prices to rise further.

According to exporter sources, India has exported about 2.3 lakh tonnes of jeera during April-December 2020 period, which is about 36 per cent higher than 1.69 lakh tonnes in the same period the previous year. Vijay Exim’s Joshi informed that as per the industry estimates and looking at the export inquiries, about 15,000-20,000 tonnes of export consignments were made in March alone. “But the international buyers are still in a watching the covid situation unfolding in their respective countries. Stringent restrictions would impact the consumption, thereby export demand too. So currently, it is an uncertain situation for the jeera price movement,” Joshi informed.

Notably, jeera exports from India has already surpassed the total exports of 2.14 lakh tonnes recorded in the year 2019-20.

Published on April 12, 2021

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