Up, Down the Merry-go-round This Year for the Commodities Market
Pepper and coconut oil prices touched new peaks while rubber plunged the depths
The past one year has been unprecedented for several commodities. The pepper and coconut oil prices touched new peaks while rubber plunged the depths. Seafood and cashew exports have touched all-time highs. But except seafood industry, the others haven’t gained much from this. The rise in pepper and coconut oil prices was triggered by a sharp production loss. High raw nut import prices took the sheen off the cashew exports. As for natural rubber, the over supply and sluggish demand in the international market was reflected on the Indian rubber scene leading to a plunge in prices despite shortfall in production. Pepper prices after hitting .` 500 per kg gradually rose past .` 700 mark in about two months and are hovering in the range of .` 730 to 740 per kg now. The reason being massive fall in production from 50,000 tonne to 35,000 tonne due to irregular weather. But both exporters and growers were caught unawares by the spiralling prices. Expecting higher prices, it seems the growers had withheld whatever stocks they had. There was a severe shortage in the market in the past few weeks. “Now we are seeing some arrivals trickling in from the high ranges in Kerala. Probably, the growers feel that prices can’t get better than this,” said Jojan Malayil, CEO of Bafna Enterprises, a ma-
Seafood exports are set to touch a whopping
30,000 cr, almost 60% rise over previous year
jor exporter. In the case of coconut, though Kerala reported a slight rise in production, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka witnessed 30 to 40 % fall in output. Both coconut and coconut oil prices more than doubled. Coconut oil prices zoomed to a high of Rs 158 per kg. “Those that took care of the coconut trees well benefitted, particularly in Kerala. The produc- tion next year too may not be normal but the fall will not be as acute as in this year,” said TK Jose, Coconut Development Board chairman. Seafood exports are all set to touch a whopping .` 30,000 crore, almost 60% rise over previous year piggybacking on frozen shrimps. The disease in South East Asian farms turned out to be a boon for India. The shrimp prices touched $18 per kg, a new high. In the recent weeks, the prices have fallen as overseas farms began to recoup output. Cashew exports reached .` 4,976 crore in 2013-14 with increased demand from the traditional markets. But, the high prices of imported raw nuts limited the gains of the exporters as the cashew kernel prices did not match the imported nut prices. Rubber prices sank to a four-yearlow of .` 138 in India with international prices under pressure from over supply. With prices falling below cost of production, the growers were hit hard. Of late, lean season and some buying by the tyre industry have lifted the prices to .` 150 per kg, around .` 27 more than the international prices.