Indonesian pepper harvest picks up pace

Indonesia’s pepper harvest is gathering momentum, according to the latest weekly prices bulletin from the International Pepper Community (IPC).

However, the IPC added that due to the El Niño situation during the last year, followed by the La Nina phenomenon this year, production of pepper in Lampung, Bangka and other producing areas in Indonesia were reported to be significantly lower compared with that of last year.

In Lampung the market was still calm, but prices decreased marginally with limited offers. New material was expected to arrive in the market by early August.

In Bangka, trading was reported to have been more active, but prices drifted lower.

In India, the Malabar black pepper price remained high at the level of INR696/kilo (USD10.34) locally and USD10,550/tonne fob. In Vietnam, prices were stable, while in Sarawak and China prices were said to have decreased, with very limited activity.

Minh Hien of Amberwood Trading’s Ho Chi Minh City office said the Vietnamese pepper market was very steady at the moment, with local sellers all reporting that buying forces were weak. Recent business from Chinese traders had only caused slight ripples in the market.

One Vietnam pepper exporter recalled that prices of Vietnamese black and white pepper had both increased marginally in the week to July 8. He also remarked that pepper markets in Indonesia were quiet due to Ramadan.

Hien added that the export volume out of Vietnam was estimated at 105,000-110,000 tonnes up to the end of June (70%-75% of the estimated crop size).

The IPC report also noted that between January and April 2016 Russia imported 1,710 tonnes of pepper, up 16% from the same period of 2015.

The latter assessment is echoed by figures from GTIS/Federal Customs Service of Russia.

Vietnam accounted for 74% of Russia’s total imports of pepper over the period.

The IPC explained that in the last decade Russia imported an average of 8,000-9,000 tonnes of pepper a year.

However, the country’s purchases declined to 6,793 tonnes in 2015 from 7,927 tonnes in 2014 and 9,794 tonnes in 2013.

GTIS/Federal Customs Service of Russia figures match those of the IPC for 2013 but give slightly different numbers for 2014 and 2015 of 7,996 and 9,797 tonnes respectively.

Around 10% of Russia’s total pepper imports in the first four months of 2016 was ground pepper.

Vietnam was the main supplier of pepper to Russia, followed by Indonesia and India.

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