Cardamom

Guatemalan cardamom prices reveal mixed supply situation

GUATEMALAN mixed yellow quality (MYQ) cardamom has fallen sharply in price over the last few months as exporters have been trying to clear stocks of these grades ahead of the start of the 2011/12 crop later this year, but scarce supply is keeping other grades stable to firm in price.

On July 1, Andrew Barker, managing director of PBA Brokerage, told  that MYQ produce of a minimum of 360 grammes a litre had been traded in the region of $12,000 a tonne c&f in the past week, down from $18,000 a tonne about three months ago.

“The MYQ (price) has fallen quite substantially. Because we are right at the tail end of the crop, any cardamoms that are looking a bit old and tired and not very green or broken goes into MYQ for grinding. There is a lot of inferior quality, mixed bag stuff knocking around, so the shippers are trying to get rid of it before the new crop starts. Hence, the price has dropped. So MYQ is definitely weak and more available than any other product line from Guatemala at the moment.”

Mr Barker said that whole green cardamoms were very scarce currently and recent indications of around $25,000 a tonne were therefore a feasible level. “You can pick up some small greens at around $18,000 (a tonne),” he added.

It was possible to obtain cardamom seeds for prompt shipment at $25,000 a tonne, but some shippers were quoting at much higher levels of up to $28,000 a tonne, Mr Barker noted.

Demand for whole greens was minimal as most people had purchased stock before prices escalated. “A lot of the trading of cardamoms has reduced to just a trickle now and people are just watching what happens with the new (2011/12) crop,” Mr Barker said.

Recent trade estimates had pegged the 2010/11 crop – harvesting of which finished in May – at 24,000 tonnes and one Guatemalan exporter has forecast the next crop starting in October to reach 28,000 tonnes. “If this estimate is correct prices will start in October cheaper,” Mr Barker predicted.

Middle Eastern buyers withdrew from the market earlier this year on concerns over unrest in the region but they have returned since and have been buying, albeit slowly.

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