Exports of cashew kernels in April declined consequent to various unfavourable factors affecting the industry. Speaking to BusinessLine, K Sasi Varma, Executive Director and Secretary, Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), said that the closing down of 70 per cent of the factories in the organised sector from April 1, following a substantial hike in the wages by the State government; reduction in incentives for export of cashew in the new foreign trade policy; and high raw nut prices were the main factors that squeezed shipments of cashew. During April 2015, the shipments stood at 6,087 tonnes valued at ₹287.95 crore at a unit value of ₹473.07 a kg against 7,395 tonnes valued at ₹319.53 crore at a unit value of ₹432.09 a kg in the corresponding month last fiscal, he said. He said there was drop of around 15 per cent.
Exports last fiscal showed a significant increase to 1,34,322 tonnes valued at ₹5,545.35 crore from 1,14,791 tonnes valued at ₹5,058.73 crore during 2013-14, he said. The average unit value stood at ₹412.84 a kg during 2014-15, against ₹440.69 a kg last financial year.
Raw nut imports in April 2015 also slipped to 35,199 tonnes worth ₹284.86 crore from 46,292 tonnes valued at ₹346.43 crore in April 2014, he said. The unit value has risen to ₹80.93 a kg from ₹74.84 a kg. This, coupled with the closure of factories, led to the drop in exports, he said.Imports up
There was a substantial increase in imports of raw nuts in 2014-15 that stood at 9,30,458 tonnes valued at ₹6,601.2 crore at a unit value of ₹70.95 a kg. Imports in 2013-14 were 7,71,356 tonnes worth ₹4,563.99 crore at the unit value of ₹59.17 a kg, Varma said.
He said indigenous production of raw nuts continued to remain far below the annual demand by the processing industry. The prices of raw nuts in the local markets were hovering at around ₹100 a kg.
Meanwhile, Mumbai-based trade sources said that “there has been a significant increase in kernel prices after a very long period”. Prices are currently in the range of W240 $3.80-3.95; W320 from $3.55-3.75; W450 $3.40-3.50; splits $3.15-3.25; pieces $3-3.15 per lb (fob) with hardly any offers at the lower end of the range, Pankaj N Sampat, a Mumbai-based dealer, told BusinessLine.Domestic market
He said premium for large wholes and discount for lower grades has narrowed significantly. Demand for large wholes is limited. Availability of lower grades is very tight. In fact, in the domestic market, Splits and Pieces are trading at prices higher than that in international market for some Whole Grades, which has happened after several years, he said.
Trade sources said the demand growth in the domestic market is at around 15 per cent per annum and prices have been higher than the international market prices. As a result, many of the processor-exporters were marketing a good portion of their products in the domestic market at a premium, they said. Over two lakh tonnes of kernels are absorbed by the internal market, they said.
In the RCN market, Pankaj said there were reports of lower kernel yields in many areas. Delays in shipments and fears of further reduction in yields in later arrivals forced shellers to pay higher prices to secure supplies of early arrivals.
This is one of the years in which RCN prices have been going up during the peak harvesting period of the Northern crops, which contribute to 75 per cent of the world output. In previous years when this has happened, there have been reasons like definite short crops or movement issues due to disturbances in growing areas, he added.
Source : The Hindu BusinessLine