Rise in exports of jeera to China lifts local prices

Expecting a drop in production, exporters had booked for arrivals early this year.

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Jeera exports have been rising in the past few years.
Kochi: Robust buying by China has triggered a price rally in jeera, or cumin, the second largest exported spice from India. Slack exports to China had kept prices in check when the harvest was over in March amid an increase in the output.

On the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), the June delivery prices hovered around Rs 178 per kg on Friday, up more than 12 per cent since March. “Prices may see a dip next week as the current price situation has reached resistance level. It may stabilise around Rs 175-176 per kg,” said Ritesh Kumar Sahu, research analyst at Angel Commodity Broking.

Expecting a drop in production, exporters had booked for arrivals early this year. Consequently, the current futures prices are around 10 per cent higher than a year ago. “The drop in output in Gujarat, the largest producer, has been offset by higher output in Rajasthan, the next largest producer,” said Sahu. Overall production may go higher than 6,00,000 tonnes last year.

jeera-graph

Cargo problems in Vietnam’s Hai Phong port, through which most of the jeera from India goes to China, had led to a slump in exports. “Now jeera export is going directly to China, skipping the Vietnam route,” said Dipakh Parikh, partner, Kanu Krishna Corporation.

Another factor that could bring cheer to exporters is that the production in Syria, India’s competitor in jeera, will be reportedly lower. “The crop from Syria usually arrives by mid-June. But there are reports that jeera crop has suffered some damage, which could mean that India may be the strongest supplier in the global market for the next few months,” said Parikh.

Jeera exports have been rising in the past few years. In the nine months to December 2018, jeera exports went up 31% in quantity to 1,37,000 tonnes and 24 per cent in value to Rs 2,192 crore from a year ago. In the entire 2017-18, jeera exports brought earnings of more than Rs 2,400 crore. “With strong exports, prices may touch Rs 190 per kg in the coming months,’’ said Parikh.

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