Cardamom prices reveal pipeline is now empty

GUATEMALAN cardamom prices have risen sharply over recent weeks as 2008/09 crop carryover runs out in the run up to first new crop arrivals.

Andrew Barker, managing director of PBAbrokerage, said that seeds were currently being quoted at $16,000 a tonne c&f, mixed yellow qualities for grinding at around $10,500 a tonne and medium whole greens between $14,000 and $16,000 a tonne c&f.

Mr Barker said that sources in Guatemala have claimed the crop which started this month will be marginally behind that of 2008/09, but he was reserving judgement for now.

Moreover, speculation over the crop is not the main price driver at the moment. “The reason the market has gone so crazy is there are no cardamoms left in Guatemala from the old crop and there are no cardamoms in the Middle East. Everyone is just pouncing on it because their warehouses are empty,” Mr Barker explained. A clearer picture of the crop size will not emerge until March 2010.

One Rotterdam spice trader said that as a result of the absence of carryover stocks he was expecting the market to remain firm over the short term, with some possible downward correction from December or January. Middle East buyers have started increasing their cover of late, which has put more upward pressure on prices, the trader added.

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