Chana Leads Other Pulses in their Northward Price March
Low supply, high demand lift chana prices by 15-20% in past 10 days
Ram Sahgal & Jayashree Bhosale
Mumbai | Pune: Chana is now going the tur dal way, with wholesale prices having risen by15% to 20% in the past 10 days, driving up prices of all other pulses by 5% to 7%. Despite forecast of good monsoon, traders say consumers will have to pay a hefty price for pulses and sugar for the next 4-5 months till the kharif crop arrives.
Chana, a winter crop, is currently being harvested across the country. However, arrivals in main producer states like Rajasthan
and UP have not been satisfactory. “Markets were closed for many days over the past one month due to many holidays reducing the supply while the demand shot up due to many regional festivals,” said Nitin Kalantry, one of the largest dal millers of Maharashtra.
As chana becomes expensive, it can impact prices of sweets and savouries.
Traders fear that with the increasing gap between the price of chana and imported yellow peas, which replace chana in varying degrees in besan, prices of yellow peas can increase by .₹ 3/kg to .₹ 4/ kg.
Ex-mill chana dal prices in Latur, shot up to .₹ 72/kg on Saturday compared to .₹ 60/kg 10 days ago. With an average difference of 30% in ex-mill prices and retail prices, the retail prices of chana dal can go up to .₹ 90/kg in the next few weeks from the current level of .₹ 70/kg.
The futures market is clearly signalling a steady rise in chana and sugar prices. Interestingly, the arrival of chana in mandis has depressed the front month (May) contract price, which traded at a 0.7% discount to the spot price of .₹ 5,220 a quintal (100 kilos).
However, from June, the futures market was trading at a premium to Wednesday’s spot market price. This indicates that the current crop supply, estimated by the government to be 14 lakh tonnes below expectations, will be squeezed, consequently raising prices unless the government acts in time to meet demand.
In June, the futures market indicates that the wholesale price of chana will be .₹ 5,266 a quintal, in July .₹ 5,362 while in August, .₹ 5,448.