Agri-commodity basket jumps, mentha futures rally

Kolkata: Futures contracts of mentha oil and cardamom saw an upswing on MCX this week in the agri-commodity basket. On NCDEX a number of commodities like guar gum complex, soybean and RM seed showed an upwards trend.

The mentha futures for August delivery is heading for its highest weekly gain of 6.6% in last one year. It has hit nearly four months high to close above Rs 1050 per kg. The prices have jumped more than 16.7% during the current month, which is highest monthly increase since March 2012, when prices jumped 22%.

“The increase in price of Mentha oil is mainly due to anticipation of higher physical and export demand for mentha oil for industrial purpose. The US is the largest importer of mentha oil from India followed by UK, Germany and China, as per the data compiled by the government for FY 2016/17. During the first 4 month of 2017, the exports of mentha oil up 54% to 757 tonnes compared to 490 tonnes last year. Moreover, the highest exports are record during next four months starting July. Heavy rainfall in mentha growing areas of north India may affect second harvesting done in September onwards,” said Ritesh Kumar, research analyst, agri-commodities, Angel Commodities Broking.

Cardamom futures on MCX too surged more than 6% during the current week mainly on lower than expected arrivals from the new season harvests. Extended dry weather during the current monsoon season in the Idukki district of Kerala is expected to severely affect the yield of cardamom crop. A per IMD data, Idukki received below normal rains in seven weeks in last two months (Jun-July). During Jun 1-Jul 27, Kerala received 930 mm rainfall, 28% below normal, while rainfall in Idukki has been 44% below normal at 755.3 mm. Cardamom arrivals for auction have been lower this year compared to last year. In the month of July the, the average weekly arrivals have been 325 tonnes, down from about 400 tonnes last year in 2016.

On National Commodities and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX), guar complex futures traded higher on reports of heavy rains in guar sowing areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat. However, the prices are still pressurized due to higher acreage in Rajasthan and Gujarat. As on 24th July, 2017 the farmers in Rajasthan have planted guar in about 22.1 lakh hectares, up by 54.5% compared to last year acreage of about 14.3 lakh hectares. Similarly in Gujarat, the area under Guar seed till 24th July was 1.45 lakh hectares, up by 170% compared to last year acreage.

MCX cotton is heading for second consecutive weekly rise and expected to close above 7 week high levels on reports of cotton area damage in Gujarat due to above normal rains. However, good progress in cotton sowing in the country capped further gains. As per latest data from Agricultural Ministry, cotton is planted in 104.1 lakh hectares (l ha) till last week, higher 20% compared to last year acreage of 86.6 lakh ha for same period.

Soybean and RM seed futures on National Commodities and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX) were up by this week to improved demand and diminishing arrivals. Lower soybean acreage during the current kharif season is also supporting prices. As per government data, area under soybean crop across the country for the 2017-18 kharif was 84.6 lakh hectares till last week, down about 17.8% on year. Rmseed futures for August delivery on NCDEX is trading in very narrow range and heading for weekly gain of about 0.5%.

Edible oil futures, Soy oil and Crude Palmoil (CPO), have moved higher this week on hope of good increase in import duty coupled with firm international edible oil prices but higher stock positions in the country and steady domestic demand is keeping the prices sideways.

Among other spices, turmeric futures for August delivery on NCDEX recover this week by about 0.9% after plunge more than 4.5% in the previous week due to below normal rains in turmeric producing areas of Telangana despite higher acreage. In Telangana, turmeric acreage as on 26-Jul-17, up 4.2% to 38,703 hectares as compared to last year acreage of 37,117 hectares. The normal acreage is close to 47,000 hectares.

NCDEX jeera for August delivery down close to 2% this week as market participants initiated fresh selling amid weak physical demand at higher prices despite lower arrivals in the physical market. As per Agmarknet, jeera arrival during first 25 days of July recorded only 2,993 tonnes compared to 7,166 tonnes in June for the same time period. Similarly, coriander futures on NCDEX are trading in a narrow range due to balanced demand and supplies.

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