INDIAN cardamom prices have continued their steady upward swing, with the average price remaining above Rs400 ($10.15) a kg.
For the first time in recent years, the average price at the last auction held in Kumily by the Cardamom Processing and Marketing Company (CPMC) went up to Rs463 a kg. It had been Rs443 a kg at the November 13 auction held by Header Systems at Nedumkandam and Rs459 a kg at the State Trading Corporation auction held on November 15 at Bodinayakannur.
The drop in arrivals coupled with the exhaustion of inventory held by dealers in North India has resulted in active participation by traders at recent auctions. This phenomenon has kept prices almost steady with marginal increases so far this season.
Arrivals during the current season up to November 19 stood at 1,961 tonnes against 2,732 tonnes for the same period last year, while sales fell to 1,854 tonnes, against 2,435 tonnes last year. There was also a decline from last season’s output.
The weighted average during the current season as of November 14 stood at Rs414.48 a kg, compared with Rs322.46 a kg for the same period last year.
“The decline in output is reflected on the arrivals, which have shown a drop of 30% to 40%, ” said PC Punnoose, general manager, Cardamom Processing and Marketing Company. “All 51 tonnes that arrived at the last auction were sold out.” However, export buying was “very little” as the prices were at higher levels than normal, making Indian cardamom uncompetitive in the overseas market.
Prices of the graded varieties on Novmber 19 were (per kg): AGEB Rs505 to RS515, AGB Rs425 to Rs435, AGS Rs405 to Rs410 and AGS1 Rs385 to Rs395. Prices in the local market at Bodinayakannur were AGEB Rs490 to Rs500, AGB Rs410 to Rs415, AGS Rs385 to Rs390 and AGS1 Rs365 to Rs385.
Bulk fetched Rs490 to Rs540 a kg.
Traders said that consistency in prices at higher levels so far had been welcomed by growers battling against a drop in output this season.