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Chinese buying underpins Indian cumin seed market

Indian cumin seed prices have faced upward pressure in recent weeks due to strong demand from China, Indian spice exporter Virdhara International said in a market report.

The company explained that the latest Indian crop, harvested in February, is expected to total 330,000 tonnes. Of this more than 70% is likely to be consumed by the domestic market, leaving the balance of 30% for exports.

India is the world’s largest producer of cumin seed. Its main rival producers are Turkey and Syria.

The report noted that with eight months to go until India’s 2018 crop prices are already high compared with those of previous years.

“China is the main importing country. If they continue to buy, prices are likely to move up again with high record,” Virdhara International suggested.

The new crops from Turkey and Syria are expected to start arriving in the market soon and the combined volumes on these have been projected at around 25,000-30,000 tonnes.

Turkish new crop cumin seeds are expected to arrive in market after July 15. “Domestic consumption of cumin seeds in Turkey is around 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes. Looking at these, expected cumin exports from Turkey will be around 7,000 tonnes,” the report added.

Virdhara International noted that over the last year there has been talk that terrorist attacks in Turkey and Syria have adversely impacted the movement of cumin seeds. However, the company challenges this assertion on the basis that terrorists are earning a good amount the transport of cumin seeds and this will result in good exports of cumin seeds from these countries.

The company observed that forward booking for June 2016 shipments of Turkish cumin seeds has been done at USD2,300/tonne.

“Prices of (Indian) cumin seeds have gone up at present because of good import demand from China. China has imported around 12,000 tonnes of Indian cumin seeds and is expected to import more than 13,000 tonnes of Indian cumin seeds for the current year,” the report concluded.

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