GUATEMALAN cardamom prices are expected to be prone to increases over the coming weeks due to strong demand and early indications of a possible decline in output.
Harvesting of the cardamom crop spans the period from October to the end of March/April so it is still a long time until a clear picture of the actual output will emerge.
However, at this early stage local sources have predicted that the crop could turn out to be some 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes lower than the 20,000 to 21,000 tonnes which was estimated for the 2006/07 crop.
The Guatemalan sources have cited the growing conditions as being less than ideal. Moreover, owing to the poor returns seen over the last few years, there is not a lot of replanting taking place in the origin. As a result, the natural life of the existing plants is coming to an end, so the yield is lower.
In addition, demand is currently very strong, led by keyMiddle East buying. Andrew Barker of the trading division of Natco Foods told that prices had already firmed from pre-Christmas indications.
Mr Barker explained that whole green large cardamom was being offered at $13.00 to $13.50 a kg c&f, while medium whole greens were in the range of $12.00 to $12.50 a kg c&f and small whole greens at $11.00 to $11.50 a kg c&f, all these quotes being for packing qualities.
Five suppliers contacted by Mr Barker for price quotes on mixed yellow qualities (MYQs) and seeds had all reported having no such stocks. However, one of these five suppliers indicated that if it was in a position to make offers, theMYQ price would be at $8.75 a kg, while on the same supposition another cited $9.50 a kg. Similarly, on the seeds one said $10.25 a kg and another cited $11.50 a kg.
Reports of India also having a much smaller than normal cardamom crop are expected to exert further upward pressure on prices.