Huge stocks keep pulses in check

New Delhi: Pulses have turned 8-10 per cent cheaper in the past two weeks on high stocks and imports from Canada and Russia, according to traders. The prices are likely to remain weak as new harvests will boost supplies further in a few weeks.

“Most of the pulses are selling below the minimum support price (MSP) and we expect the prices to fall further. In the wholesale mandis of Indore and Bikaner, chana prices are down 10 per cent at Rs 39 a kg, while tur is 8 per cent less at Rs 52 a kg,” said Sunil Baldeva, general secretary of the Agri Farmers & Traders Association.

The traders said that tur prices fell by 8 per cent in Mumbai’s wholesale mandi to Rs 48.50 per kg. Urad prices in Chennai dipped 4 per cent to Rs 46 a kg in the past 15 days.

pulses-graph

The October contract of chana on NCDEX at Rs 4,067 a quintal showed that the prices would remain below MSP by 12 per cent, with open interest at 81,740 lots. Similarly, moong prices were being quoted 19 per cent below MSP for the October contract at Rs 5,700 a quintal. Baldeva said import of over 1,00,000 tonnes of yellow peas from Canada and Russia had weakened the prices.

The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation is holding 3.5 million tonnes of pulses. This will keep the prices below MSP through the next few months, said Vivek Agrawal, an Indian commodity broker with JLV Agro.

Agrawal said that everyone — from traders to millers — were moving cautiously and keeping only a few days of stock because of the pricing uncertainty and the fear of further price drop on intermittent stock release by the government. He said that chana, tur and urad prices continued to remain lower on thin demand.

The government’s move to offload 35 lakh tonnes of pulses in August to states at Rs 15 per kg, which was lower than the wholesale rate for distribution under PDS and other welfare schemes, has also led to the price fall, analysts said.

Suresh Aggarwal, president of the All India Dal Millers Association, said that the government will have to take steps to ensure prices are at MSP level, so that farmers get their remunerative prices.