Guatemala recorded a strong first quarter of the year on cardamom exports, with overall shipments 14.5% ahead of those achieved in the same period of 2012.
In all, the country shipped a total of 13,384 tonnes of cardamom to global destinations between January and March 2013 compared with 12,077 tonnes in the first quarter of 2012.
The upturn in volumes lends support to trade views that the country had a very good crop this year of between 33,000 and 36,000 tonnes.
Volumes sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates edged up by 12% and 11.7% respectively over the 2013 period. Meanwhile, Jordan raised its volumes by a staggering 240% to 1,441 tonnes.
These gains are perhaps hardly surprising in view of the fact that the Middle East region has traditionally always been a strong buyer and would be keen to cover as early as possible this year with an earlier start to Ramadan, in July.
India upped its purchases by 97.3% year-on-year to 1,564 tonnes, reflecting shortfalls in its own output and a need to meet strong export demand.
There were dips in sales to Syria, Pakistan, Israel and Bangladesh but gains in volumes shipped to Egypt and the key transhipment destination of Singapore. Singapore has a strong presence of spice traders and speculators who are keen to capitalise on the trading opportunities in a number of key spices, including cardamom, so it is likely that at least some of the volumes here were destined for re-export.