Cardamom rules steady on demand-supply match



The cardamom market ruled almost steady on bullish sentiments as the season is nearing to a close and a consequent squeeze in supply at auctions held last week.

Arrivals dropped last week from around 600 tonnes in the previous weeks to about 490 tonnes.

Exporters bought consistently, estimated at around 120 tonnes last week. Upcountry dealers were covering but were not aggressive. The last round of picking may end by mid-March and from then till the arrival of the next crop in July it will be the lean season.

If the current dry spell prevailing in major growing areas for the past nearly two months continues it might impact the crop, trade sources said. Normally, these areas receive some shower after mid-February and any failure will have an effect on the next crop, they said.

The 2011-12 crop has been good and the quantity auctioned so far has shown a substantial increase over last season. The weather was favourable last year with timely rains, but this year the weather does not seem as favourable, growers in Idukki said.

Cardamom requires intermittent showers without which the plants will wither, they said.

The current sentiments indicate a steady to firmer market as the harvesting is expected to come to an end by mid-next month, Mr P.C. Punnoose, General Manager, CPMC, told Business Line. Arrivals have shown a declining trend, he said. Good quality cardamom was fetching good price and its availability was limited, he said.

At the Sunday auction conducted by the KCPMC, total arrivals stood at 80 tonnes as against 109 tonnes the previous week. The maximum price was at Rs 967 a kg and the minimum Rs 429 a kg. Auction average increased to Rs 653.11 a kg from Rs 625.11 a kg the previous week. Individual auction average remained in the range of Rs 635 and Rs 685 a kg last week.

Total arrivals as on February 19, 2012 were at 12,928 tonnes and the sales at 12,589 tonnes as against around 7,160 tonnes of arrivals and about 6,985 tonnes sales in the same period last year.

Weighted average price as on February 19, 2012 was at Rs 562 a kg as against around Rs 1,118 a kg on the same date last year, according to official sources.

Prices of graded varieties were steady at previous levels. They were in Rs/kg: AGEB Rs 820-830; AGB Rs 680-690; AGS Rs 670-680 and AGS 1: Rs 640-650.

Open market prices of graded varieties in Bodinayakannur in Rs/kg were: AGEB Rs 790-800; AGB Rs 675; AGS Rs 640 and AGS 1: Rs 620, trade sources in Bodi said.

Good quality 8 mm bold was at Rs 950-975 a kg while good bulk was fetching Rs 725-750 a kg.

The weather conditions prevailing in the main cardamom growing tracts were not favourable so far, as the area continued to be in the grip of dry spell.



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