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Cardamom prices top Rs 600 a kg

G.K. Nair

Short supply, demand behind the rally


The numbers
For the first time in three years, the maximum price here went up to Rs 609.50 a kg, while the minimum was Rs 238 a kg.
The average price stood at Rs 430 a kg, an increase of Rs 30 from Rs 400 on August 23.
Traders from North India were active and, an entire quantity of 44.4 tonne was sold out.

Kochi , Sept. 9

Short supply and good demand has pushed up cardamom prices by Rs 40 a kg at the auctions held in Kumily (Kerala) by Cardamom Processing Marketing Company (CPMC) on Wednesday.

For the first time in three years, the maximum price here went up to Rs 609.50 a kg, while the minimum was Rs 238 a kg. The average price stood at Rs 430 a kg, an increase of Rs 30 from Rs 400 on August 23, Mr P.C. Punnoose, General Manager, CPMC, told Business Line on Thursday.

Depending upon the colour 7 mm bold fetched Rs 450-475 a kg, while 7.5 mm capsules were sold at Rs 550 a kg. Current bulk fetched Rs 400-430 a kg.

Exporters were virtually absent due to high prices.

However, traders from North India were active and, as a result, an entire quantity of 44.4 tonnes was sold out.

Buying activity

At the STCL auction held in Bodinayakannur on Thursday almost all quantity of 21 tonnes (from Kerala and Tamil Nadu) were sold out. The maximum price was Rs 568 a kg here, while the average was Rs 325 a kg.

Good buying activity by domestic dealers/traders was visible. However, even here export buying was virtually nil, market sources said.

The arrivals at the auctions continued to be less compared with last year. As on September 6 last, the total arrivals and sales stood at 764 tonnes and 696 tonnes respectively as against 1,009 tonnes and 959 tonnes respectively on the same day last year.

Average prices

The average prices of the graded varieties as on September 2 were AGEB Rs 460-470, AGB Rs 380-390, AGS Rs 365-375 and AGS 1 Rs 340-350 a kg.

Prices of these varieties in the open market in Bodinayakannur on Thursday was higher. ABEB Rs 465-475, AGB Rs 385-395, AGS Rs 365-375. However, AGS 1(inferior quality) was being sold at Rs 225-235 a kg. The increase in prices of the graded varieties in the local market indicate good domestic demand, trading sources in Bodi said.

Favourable weather conditions prevail in the growing areas at present. However, the damages done to plants during June/July last by heavy winds, dry spell and heavy downpour would keep the output lower at 30-40 per cent, plantation sources said. If the prices remained consistently at remunerative levels, then growers would have some surplus funds to plough back to revive and replenish plantations for the next season, they said.

Demand to persist

But, current prices are likely to persist at least for a couple of months, as there will be good demand till October/November on account of Diwali and Ramzan. Thereafter, cardamom from Guatemala is expected to land in the country at low prices.

If the Indian market was allowed to be flooded with imported cheap cardamom from Guatemala that would definitely pull down prices of the indigenous produce, planters said.

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