Active trading was witnessed on the Karachi wholesale commodity markets during previous week as commercial and brokerage housed played on both side of the fence followed by reports of ready stock position.
The overall trend, however, was maintained on mixed note as leading brokers shifted positions from one counter to the other depending on the supply line and future covering positions on some counters of essentials by commercial houses.
The notable feature of the week was fresh massive speculative increase in prices of guar seed, which was quoted higher by Rs7,000 to 8,000 per 100 kg at Rs25,000 to 26,000, which is said to be an all-time high record.
Being an export-oriented item, processors were worried over unprecedented rise in its price and sought official intervention to bring the price down to a rational level as exports were being hit, dealers said.
Floor brokers said in absence of upcountry buyers, both from Sindh and Punjab, the prices of essentials were sharply lower under the lead of gram and masoor on reports that new crop supplies had started arriving in the market amid modest ready local off-take.
They said prices could fall in sympathy on some counters of other essentials as upcountry dealers were again conspicuous by their absence.
The market decline was led by pulses under the lead of masoor and gram whole and dal and some other types. Their sympathetic impact on other essential items was not immediately known as consumers did not make fresh buying anticipating further fall in prices.
Dealers attributed fall in prices of pulses partly to larger imports in the backdrop of sharp rise during the last couple of weeks and partly to harvesting of local gram and masoor crops.
On the other hand, all other essential items maintained their upward drive under the lead of wheat, which rose sharply followed by increase in support prices at growers’ levels.
Wheat, some types of rice, and industrial raw materials, notably cereals followed by reports of short crops, also remained in active support with their prices quoted higher.
Wheat: Activity on this sector was fairly robust as mills made fresh buying at higher rates. Prices, therefore, were quoted higher by Rs60-95 per 100 kg with prediction of further rise in prices in coming weeks despite reports of harvesting of new crop by next month.
Pulses: This sector remained under pressure at previous week’s higher rates under the lead of gram, gram dal and masoor whole and dal and some other types.
But during the week current prices were quoted sharply lower on active selling by both commercial houses and dealers followed by reports of larger import and increase in local supplies.
Rice: Much of the activity remained confined to Irri types, which was quoted higher under the lead of Irri-6 by Rs150 but was held unchanged for Irri-9 owing to lack of foreign and local demand.
Prices of basmati varieties lacked active support by exporters and were held unchanged.
Cereals: This sector again showed firm trend under the lead of maize, jowar and bajra on active support triggered by reports of fall in arrivals from Sindh markets. Maize, jowar and barley were quoted sharply higher amid slow ready off-take.
Guar seed remained under speculative squeeze as some dealers covered positions at a record higher rate amid active trading.
The close was around Rs25,000-26,000 per 100 kg and some dealers predicted its price around Rs26,000 per 100 kg.
Oilseeds: This sector, on the other hand, again showed steady trend under the lead of rapeseed on reported fall in new crop arrivals, and prices were quoted at previous levels.
But fresh decline in cottonseed was averted as demand showed a modest increase and prices were maintained at last levels.
Prices of other major seeds, including castor seed, were quoted unchanged, while til was quoted modestly higher from its previous level as supply position remained tight amid strong demand from exporters.
Cotton: The market earlier could not maintain its recovery trend as prices fell by Rs100 per maund from its previous level on active ginner selling and were quoted lower despite stray mill buying.
However, market showed signs of recovery followed by news that India has banned export of cotton owing to local shortage, which pushed prices higher from early week’s lower levels. But unlike previous weeks the market lacked normal mill support amid hopes that prices could ease further from the current lower levels.
Oilcakes: Both rapeseed and cottonseed cakes showed higher trend and both ended the week on a steady note amid active local buying. The steadiness was noted in cottonseed cakes after several weeks of decline.—M.A.