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Friday, July 27, 2018

Sesame Seed Market Report/Korean Tender July 16th 2018

Hello Everyone , 
How many times have we ,The sesame people used McDonalds as our business reference. 
 For, "What do you do?Sesame , you mean Oil ? " the "Oh , you know those small pearly seeds on top of McDonald burgers" always worked.

I didn't even know they made a movie about them till a few days ago. "The Founder" , if you've not seen it I suggest you do ,It's not everyday that they make a movie based on Food Entrepreneurs.

What really caught my fancy was the sales pitch of Ray Kroc,the man who made McDonalds famous

                                      “Increase supply and demand follows” . 

How true is that , all these years we've been taught otherwise, while the market leaders always saw it differently.

For years we concentrated on the Micro economics of our trade and ignored the Macros. The world demand and consumption doubled over the past decade and so did the production. China at the moment is Importing around 10,00,000 MT plus apart from its own production. I read online that their per capita consumption is about 1.1 Kg/Person annually   ( the numbers add up too ). Convert China number into oil and consumption number is about 500 ml/Person per year. Half a Liter per year thats it , thats average 1 bottle per household per year.


Agreed these are all Oil seeds put together and one oil cannot replace the entire food chain but look at the numbers we have here , Imagine the scale and scope for growth. Our industry could grow two folds in matter of years without even making an effort.In India the sesame consumption I assume would barely be few hundred Grams per year per person.

“We really don't seem to understand what exponential means. Things move slowly at first and then curves up amazingly” It’s all about the supply side. African nations increased their supply and china kept buying more and more,a whole consumption pattern was created with increased supply chain. Hope the Indian Domestic market catches up soon, if anyone has ideas please feel free to share and discuss.The future looks bright.

Anyways thats all general chit chat, lets move to things that concern us in short term.
Korean Tender, Carry over stocks and the New crop 2018.

Korean Tender 16th July 2018 :-

India as usual got the bigger share , the total bids for 10,000 MT were about 19,000 MT. The bids usually are not a indicator of stock in hand as people sometime double bid the same quantities at different prices and some short bid as well. Overall I think this was a well covered Tender since the price movements were already factored in. As soon as the dates finalized  the prices started to move up and people averaged their purchases, this should have given the bidders a fair leverage to take home the profits with the volumes that were on offer. 

Koreans most probably should be out with 1 or 2 tenders more as they still need about 15,000 MT more to cover their 2018 buying quota. The timings would be critical though.I doubt they can wait till November so if they are in the market before it would clash with peaked domestic demand due to Diwali Festival and limited arrivals as sowing has been a little late overall. A tricky situation indeed.

Carry Over Stocks :-

For donkey years we have been crying wolf about the carry over stocks but no one ever has been able to judge the depth and size of the stock pockets. The cargo keeps flowing and flowing and flowing. This year however for the first time I've realized that stocks indeed are at all time low. Yes people are still holding on to little quantities here and there in anticipation of another rally but the volumes are pretty evident.Material is available but it has a clear price tag to it , days of distress sale are over.The stock now is in financially strong hands, since most of the commodities were down all year people booked profits at every levels they could .

The forward trade that happened rampantly was based on these old carry overs , someone holding 100 MT could speculate to sell 200 MT new crop forward since he knew he had something to fall back on if anything drastic happened , its was a physical hedging done at market yard level based on which the exporters could then do the same thing and offer forward into new crop with the seeds still in farms. This chain I think this year would be hard to maintain , of course there would be some daredevils who would speculate openly but thats a gamble which only a few can manage.Its a head/tail kind of deal between the supplier and the buyer and one of those two is sure to loose.

The road ahead for atleast 2 months , I'm  saying 2 because by 30th Sept even though the arrivals may be huge, the crop news will be an open secret and will leave little chance for the stocks to make any real big impact , but for the next 60 days the stocks are the market movers for sure.I have a feeling that we will see atleast 20 days of Upward trend and a few days of stable + downward trend in  this period. The stable and downward would be mostly slow demand driven while the UP days would be actual demand or speculation driven. With the tender out of the way we still have the hulled demand which continues. Going by the past numbers we would need about 20-25,000 MT per month at bare minimum for exports i.e about 40-50,000 MT till Sept 30th to be physically processed and moved out.

At the moment almost every sane exporter will have a little plus stock,  the levels could vary as to when they actually bought it, like I said above, profit booking happened at all levels so the low level stocks are mostly accounted for and most of the cargo in hand will be of a fairly higher average. That means we are almost in the zone of back to back pricing which leaves little scope for under cutting and price competition at large scale.Some buyers who supported their suppliers all year round with consistent orders are sure to be the best beneficiaries, they would get the best deals possible which would further enable them to out-price their competitors in the longer run.

Carryover/Port Stocks at China is also a major factor, everyone keeps a track of that like they do of his own warehouses. So they should too, it definetly gives a fair idea about the consumption as well as the Import arrival pattern of China. However it is fairly difficult to judge the impact based on its volume , sometimes the port stocks may go down below 100,000 MT and yet the market doesn't move and sometimes its above 150,000 MT and we still see the China buying aggressively.

What's interesting is the timing of "Stock Price" viz a viz "Current Purchase Prices" 
at Origin. For a consuming platform like China it is inevitable that they will have huge stockpiles of cargo all the time , its just plain volume business. Some Importers in China probably move more FCL's on a day than the number of Sesame Pallets an average European/American company in a business day. Thats the scale I'm talking about.

Simple business sense tells us that if the stocks at of low levels at consumer end it is better that at Origin prices are high, it helps move the stocks faster and at better levels , while if the stocks are of High levels the low/stable prices at Origin are better because it helps in rolling over the stocks with a better average price. 

Right now after a long long time the stocks in China are all relatively low price levels , which means its better for them if the origins stay firm .They can move stocks quicker and with better margins while slowly bringing the market prices up to a levels where they can again cover at current levels. The cycle keeps repeating itself over and over again both ways.

The winter origins of China purchase like Ethiopia, Nigeria , Sudan , Burkina , Mali etc are all rumored to have little stocks,  the only origin where crop was harvested recently was Indian Summer crop , Tanzania and Mozambique.

Indian summer crop got cleaned up faster than it arrived as prices were attractive , Chinese buyers knew about certain quality and quantity problems with Tanzania/Mozambique and Indian exporters were eager for volumes. Worked well for both I would say , after a long long time we saw back to back business happening smoothly and with mutual benefit.

Talking about carry overs and stocks at other destinations I would assume there isn't much anywhere. In a dull market (Period of Jan'18-May-18) I doubt anyone was speculating on a big rush and was hoarding sesame. Yes there could be a few but thats definitely not a reflection of the whole market. Most people were back to back and now have a chance to sell at a fair price.

The Season ahead :-

Like I said above prices being high at Origin has its own advantage and disadvantage. The good thing is that goods at destination move faster the bad thing is that orders for the Origin slow down. Everyone wants to first book their profit , watch carefully and then enter. Everyone is looking for sweet deals.

India over the years has become a reluctant seller. Everyone wants to double their investments in 1 seasons cycle. This is the reason that even a increase of about 40% from the seasons low seems small to the stockiest.The Indian story starts and ends with less sowing more rainfall , sometimes I get a feeling that people here actually pray for less crop concentrating on profits to be made on their stocks rather than focusing on the bigger picture of world demand/supply.If you argue in India about a huge crop the chances are you will be countered negatively, strange but true. 

The sowing as I have always maintained varies to a limited extent depending on farmers preference and commodity prices.Usually sesame sowing areas are not feasible for a variety of crops but the farmers as we know are amazing people , if they get to it they can do the impossible.In recent times we did see the Sesame sowing area stagnate or reduce due to better prices of pulses but with reversed trends we are hopeful that has changed this year.Sporadic rains continue to be a mystery as it can change the volumes drastically within weeks. Till last weeks the areas that were almost dry are now water logged , paddy and other Kharif crops have that advantage of late sowing and late harvest which sesame doesn't.Rarely have we seen Re-sowing of sesame once the initial sowing fails.

However I am hoping this year of a better harvest than previous years , putting a number right now would be shooting in the dark.

The carry overs as we discussed are at bare minimum , the carryovers give a physical hedge every year for forward trade as well as stabilizing the markets for sudden demands such as " Indian Domestic sales for Winters". The short bursts of demands are controlled and catered by stocks in hand, with nothing to fall back on the new crop 2018 will always be under pressure.

There is another Korean Tender rumored before September . A tender before new crop would for sure empty the exporters as unlike local stockiest they would not be carrying Natural Sesame stock into the new season. The would mean almost everyone would be in to cover stocks for new season from Day 1 .

The "Bengal Double Skin" Hulled which has been a controversial product over the years but has evolved beautifully to cover the "Low Priced" but "Good Looking Seed" markets with no real concern for food safety or taste will take a hit this season. The bengal crop was stated to be less by about 30% which means the excess quantity they had to offer to the hulling units is gone and their prices up. The oil industry had first rights to this double skin quality and it has started to show already with prices rising quickly. This means a lot of factories will shift back to white sesame raw material ,volumes could be as high as 40-50,000 MT Annually ,the low priced cargos will not be available readily means at destinations everyone to have level playing field. 

By the time we finish this season and merge into the new 2018 crop we could be closer to levels not seen in a long time, low priced stocks at destinations would have finished and the markets adjusted to new levels. Most commodity traders would agree that when we switch the season on a higher level the price volatility is that much bigger but a crash is highly unlikely because that would mean the whole trade to loose money. Its alright if it happens the other way around when markets open at the bottom and remain their but a crash from high's to low's takes more than just demand to bring it down.

Slow demand at best can keep the markets stagnant or trigger small corrections but a overall bullish sentiment usually prevails , at-least until we reach the top line.

For the season ahead ,Top line in my estimate for good quality Natural Sesame 99/1/1 type is USD 1850-1950 PMT and USD 2400-2500 PMT for good quality Hulled Sesame . Bottom lines should be USD 1250-1350 PMT and USD 1650-1750 respectively. 

Natural above $2000 and Hulled above $2500 is a possibility but the exit windows will be too narrow at any given time.

Factors for Top Line :-
1:- Low Stocks and empty warehouses.
2:- Relatively less new crops compared to previous years in India,China ,Myanmar & Africa.
3:- Good domestic demand in India.
4:- USD movements against currency of Exporting countries.
5:- Triggers like general bullish sentiments and stock situation at Chinese ports.

Factors for Bottom Line :-
1:- A relatively huge crop as compared to previous years at all origins.
2:- Less stocking due to high prices.
3:- Back to back business resulting in stagnant and spread consumption patterns.
4:- USD movements against currency of Exporting countries.
5:- Chinese port stocks replenished periodically or huge inventory built up.

To sum up we have a feeling it is going to be a good year both in terms of prices and movement of goods. The Sesame market has matured tremendously over the years , the supply/demand lines well identified.What goes where , who buys what , what is available when, are all chalked out. The smaller things can create nuisance for a while but in a larger prospective China remains the KING,Africa remains the volume supplier and India remains the trusted supplier of Hulled, Sortex Sesame , market information and Gossips.

Please feel free to comment/correct/share just refrain from passing this as your own report.Giving due credit is important.


Mukul Gupta
Shakumbhri Expo Impo Ltd.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sesame Seed Market Report November 30th 2017

Good Day Everyone,

The sesame season in India after a dull start finally got all exciting. Cheers to the bulls who've patiently waited for almost 2 seasons for something to happen. The Bears nevertheless are not ready to give up so easily either.

The crop size as per crop survey done by our council was around 330,000 Mt for the 4 Major producing states of U.P , M.P , Rajasthan and Gujrat. Like I said in the previous report this was a safe number but we will have to see if the safe numbers really stand ground this time.The quantities were more or less evenly distributed between the 4 states , however the survey suggested that M.P has the biggest crop which is again debatable.

Arrival Trends since 1st October, 2017

The first arrivals started a week before but we can discount those at the quantities was barely 100-200 bags put together,which is roughly 10-15 MT.The bigger quantities started from Oct 1st, there was a 5-7 days break in between due to Diwali holidays and of course each of the Market Yard follows a 6 day week.

So from the last 60 days , let us discount 8-10 Festive Holidays and 8 Weekly holidays, so total number of working days is 45.

Uttar Pradesh (U.P) Arrivals :-  The peak arrivals in the state of U.P have been about 15-16,000 Bags(80 Kg Each) , the minimum so far have been about 5-6000 Bags. Most days it varied between these 2 numbers so a safe average should be about 10,000 Bags.

(10000 Bags X 45 Days X 80 Kg )/ 1000 = 36-38,000 MT

Madhya Pradesh(M.P) Arrivals :- The numbers should be around the same but the arrivals started a little late and the quantities were higher in the start so factoring that we would assume the total arrivals so far have been about 35-40,000 MT.

Rajasthan Arrivals :- The arrivals started only around end October and the numbers do not suggest a number more that 7-8000 Bags in average so i would say the arrivals so far must have been around 25-30,000 MT.

Gujrat Arrivals :- Gujrat arrivals are a mix of locally produced cargo plus a lot of cargo which comes for resale from Rajasthan and MP/UP , then there is a lot of Black Sesame and a lot of Super White Natural which is almost 100% bought for local consumption and some old crop as well . Not factoring all that I would say the arrivals so far must have been in the range of 25-30,000 MT.

So Total arrivals so far( Rounded off) should be 40,000 + 40,000 + 30,000 + 30,000 = 140,000 MT
in all.

I could be wrong state wise but I am sure the overall numbers would add up close. Predicting a crop size can have a higher degree of variations but arrivals numbers should not have a variation of 10% at best , so for the Bears lets say the number is 150,000 MT and for the Bulls will keep this number.

If someone has the exact numbers i would love to have them , you can mail or WhatsApp me.

Where did all the Sesame Go ?

Average Indian export is about 25,000 MT Per Month which during peak demand months of Oct/Nov/Dec is about 30,000 MT per Month.

There was a sudden Chinese demand for Oct/Nov shipments which cleaned up a lot of old stocks and of course the new crop. Taking an average 2 week period for preparing and shipment of cargo for export we could safely conclude that a minimum of 60,000 MT has been Exported and another 10-15,000 is ready for export in December.

This should include the 2100 MT Korean Tender which needs to sail our ASAP.

As the buyers do book forward I am sure that whatever is sold for Dec is well covered. The cargo although sitting in the factories and warehouses is already sold and accounted for which means it will not make any impact in the market. Agreed that a lot of forward sales was hedged through Import cargo but that is unlikely to come into India before Jan so its safe to assume that Dec shipments at least are all locally covered , the Imports would be extra Incoming or Future Sale Based.

At a bare minimum anyone who is dealing in Sesame this season if he was remotely bullish would have bought little for stocking which even by conservative numbers should be 15-20% of the arrivals.

So adding up:-
a:- Oct-Nov-Dec :- Exported/Sold/Prepared/ToShip cargo almost    80-90,000  MT
b:- 15-20% Stocking must have happened at Yard levels i.e about   25-30,000 MT
c:- The domestic consumption from Nov-Dec-Jan should be about         30-40,000 MT

The domestic consumption would also most likely clean up the old stocks as well since there already is a sizable price differential between the two for quality reasons.

So adding the above we see that almost everything that has come in the new crop + Carry over stocks is accounted for.

Many would argue my numbers for Domestic consumption but it really is hard to judge the domestic markets size as things moves locally and in smaller quantities so we need to focus only on what the Domestic Market bought from the actual Arrivals at the Yard.

 The African Story so far :-

The Sudan crop which was expected to be bigger  is now looking smaller than last year. The big crop news forced everyone to clear their warehouses and the carry over stocks in Sudan were at bare minimum . Then there is their currency problem which makes the market very unpredictable. A short Sudan crop might mean nothing to the first world markets but in the Middle east markets and lately China it could create some anxiety.

The Nigerian crop although looking good has its own share of problems. The port congesting in Nigeria has created havoc with the shipments, delays to China means they are forced to look for alternate markets for supply which meant sudden quantum jumps, that may eventually cool down when normalcy resumes with the shipments but i fear it may have already done the damage.

Ethiopia is expected to have a good harvest , however with contradicting news about the crop being 10-15% less to same as before from different people , the benchmark ECX is trading at levels higher than before so I would assume either the Demand is high or the Supply is short.

Tanzania/Mozambique had a disaster crop this year and that means their supply to China from Aug onwards was not so heavy as it used to be which is clearly showing in the low stocks are Chinese ports. The Port stocks in China were below 50,000 MT Levels till recently. People argue a lot of cargo is on its way , but doesn't that also mean that a lot of cargo at destination is already out.

With little competition left to price match them the African suppliers will surely look to get the best value for their product and not offer as cheap as we think they will. Some argue that Africa jumps because India goes up and vice versa , once again its a  sweet little bubble we Indians like to live in. Africa now has the quantities , they have big giant Multinational companies and a huge single  Market like China and here we assume that we can manipulate all that overnight.

Well to each his own , Would be interesting to see how Africa play their cards this year , will they crumble under the pressure of Quantity business or will they realize that there simply is no volume competition globally anyways.

Korean Tender :- 

The Koreans floated a tender for 3900 MT few days ago which needed to be shipped ASAP , however at the first bidding the total quantities Bid from India were exactly 3900 MT , usually they are 2-3 times higher, in layman terms not many sellers interested. Ofocurse prompt shipment was one of the deterrent but there are surely enough Daredevils in India who would have loved to try their luck or do some profit booking if the opportunity was there. Anyways the bids were too high for the Koreans and they decided that the highest they could take was @ USD 1600 so very smartly bids of USD 1599 were accepted. However interestingly they managed to get only 2400 MT , I don't recollect the last time a buyer like Korea did not get the quantities it needed.

From Jan 2018 till the next crop even by conservative numbers the Korean Tenders would need about 50,000 MT of cargo.

Indian Domestic Demand :-

We've had this factor every year in Indian winters and it does make a grand entry trust me you. Last year in November my Prime Minister Mr Modi took a very bold and unexpected step of Demonetization which for atleast a few months created a severe cash crunch , the domestic market focussed on essentials and somewhere in all that frenzy the local consumption suffered. However things are back on track and the domestic demand is booming once again. I think everyone this year almost forgot to factor this major demand in Indian price scenario.

The Road Ahead :-

In a bullish trend a lot of cargo will go into stocks in anticipation of un realistic levels and will not come out in a rush so that stocking that has already happened plus the assumed FARMER hiding 40-45% of the crop should be in no rush to sell either. I really don't see where the pressure trigger would be for a huge slide back in near future.

So from Jan-September technically we should have about 120-150,000 MT Arrivals (Assumed Hidden by the FARMER) +Imports + Summer crop whatever numbers they may be till 2018 Crop.

In previous years I always said that there is enough in the market to last us the full season but this years numbers really don't seem to add up. Previous years small crop was compensated by the year before's huge carry overs but this time we do not have that luxury and cushion to fall back on.

Another interesting angle is , Since India recently banned Import of a some Pulses , a big chunk of those were being produced in Africa , the big guns there have huge investments and with Pulses out of equation they might be shifting their focus on Sesame since its a fast moving and relatively pricy commodity. Logically thinking its quite a possible scenario.

Indian Hulling Industry in the last decade got sucked into the trap of Volume Trade.

Hulled Sesame Seed ,a product where the price of Raw material is almost 90% of the cost ,to play volume game was simply illogical. Apart from the Salaries and odd overheads there wasn't  much to gain or loose. With Volume game came speculations and higher risks for little returns. 

 I think the lower available quantities to the Hulling factories will make them realize their old basics again, to concentrate on efficiency and healthy margins rather than speculations and wafer thin margins.

 Our Sesame Industry in India have worked really hard on Food Safety and Quality standards and its high time we start using our Experience ,Expertise and Performance to win back our market share rather than striving to be the cheapest.

What changed since September 2017 so far :-

 For a bullish market the bulls really need to get all their fundamental's right
1:- Low Carry over's                                         CHECK
2:- Less new crop                                               CHECK
3:- A steady and healthy export demand         CHECK
4:- A steady and healthy domestic demand     CHECK 
5:- Funds to hold onto stocks for longer          CHECK
6:- Low global availability of the cargo            CHECK

While for the bearish market the Bears only need to get one of the above 6 right and the market either falls or stays put.

The bears will occasionally keep getting one of the above 6 triggers right and markets will either correct or move sideways but to make it back into a Bear season they need to get atleast 3 triggers right at the same time for a long period of time , its for everyone to make his own assumption now.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sesame Seed Market Report Sept 2017

Good Day Everyone,

Its nice to be back on my blog after a long long time , for all those who are wondering why I was absent , I think I owe them a brief explanation , well firstly there wasn't much to write about in a lack luster season and secondly the Health problems of my beloved Uncle, my mentor, my Business Partner who passed after a long struggle this May. Being in a family run business these things can hit you hard, more than any one can possibly imagine.

Well but life goes on and here I am back again Hail and Hearty ready for the journey ahead.

About Sesame now , what can i possible share that all of you already do not know. Hmm..let me start with some numbers.

World Sesame Production is now close to 4.8 Million MT , yes that 5000 Times 1000 ,
The Top 10 producers would be ( In descending  order of production )
3:- China
4:- Tanzania
5:- Sudan
6:- Ethiopia
7:- Nigeria
8:- Burkina Faso
10:- Niger.

The Largest of these would be India if I am not wrong producing about 700,000 MT in Total ( All Varieties and 2 Seasons) and Niger should be close to about 100,000 MT. The top 10 would easily be about 75-80% of the worlds total production.

Well where does all this sesame go then, Let's see. About 2 Million MT is being Exported/Imported,weather we take a Total of the top Importers or a Total of the Top Exporters
 it doesn't matter.
The Top 10 Importers would be
1:- China
2:- Japan
3:- Turkey
4:- South Korea
5:- Vietnam
6:- Israel
7:- Taiwan
8:- USA
9:- Syria/Lebanon/Iran/Iraq
10:- Saudi Arabia

The Largest of these i.e China is Importing close to 1 Million MT alone , Japan and Turkey are at 150, 000 MT and Korea Vietnam around 100,000MT . Thats a total of  about 1.5 Million MT in the top 5 Importers alone. The rest of the world is way way way behind at 500,000 MT in total.

Staggering figures , however these still leave about 2.8  Million MT unaccounted for , whats happening to that quantity? Well i would like to believe that is being consumed locally in the producing area's and also a substantial amount is being exported to Neighbouring countries through border trade like in the case of Myanmar- China or Sudan-Egypt Trade which justifies why those numbers do not show up in the Export numbers. India is exporting about 300,000MT but also consuming as Edible oil and Seed about 400,000 Mt locally.

While all these years we talked about Sesame on Hamburger buns , breads and Tahina , Sesame Oil has raced away quitely.

In any case the basic point remains that China is miles ahead of everyone else in its capacity to buy and consume and I think its still not the end of the road. I was in China recently and the general sense I got there was the Chinese are least concerned about the size of their own crop now and are Happy to buy from Africa.As we know the Sesame trade from Africa to China is more than just a commodity Business , it is deeply connected to the Forex exchange and the Import needs of Africa ,which are surely on the rise with each passing day.

Now to Indian Crop. After a lot of speculations , guess work , manipulations , survey's , statistics ,the trade I think has finally reached a consensous , India will harvest a good crop finally. The numbers will vary but a safe figure would be around 350,000 Mt ( All States combined ). Not a huge crop by any standards but keeping in mind the above stats its more than enough for India. We are still exporting close to 300,000 Mt and the current new crop should be good enough for that. We've had some rains in the past few days which might not have damaged any quantity but have surely delayed the harvest by about a week or so , if all goes well the harvesting will start in a few days time and we expect good arrivals around Mid October and then with a Diwali holiday gap to pick up by End October/Early November again.

Like I mentioned in one of my reports , India is a almost a Importing country now, for the past 2-3 years we have been more worried about where to source the cheapest raw material in volumes from rather than worry about where to sell those volumes , its a huge market for the Africans and in a weird tangle of being a supplier as well as competitor they are playing the game really smartly. India in the past 4-5 years is being beaten at its own game and with almost 70% of the Natural Sesame Export share already gone we have little to play with. The Korean tender is the last fortress standing for Natural Exports and with African & China eyeing that as well its only a matter of time that it will fall too.

So what will be the driving factors in the months to come, they remain the same as last year i guess with a few additions. In my last years report I mentioned as follows

We believe for a bullish market the bulls really need to get all their fundamental's right
1:- Low Carry over's
2:- Less new crop
3:- A steady and healthy export demand
4:- A steady and healthy domestic demand
5:- Good access to a lot of funds to hold onto stocks for longer period
6:- Low global availability of the cargo

While for the bearish market the Bears only need to get one of the above 5 right and the market either falls or stays put.

Well the bears did get that one thing Right and that was Carry Over's, no one expected that India and the rest of the world would be sitting on such huge stockpiles , the cargo just kept coming and coming and coming. Point 5 came in from time to time as well which held back any rallies that happened.

This year Point 5 i.e Access to Funds would be a major point at least for India and a 7th Factor which I would like to add would be Supply/Purchase timing. The Chinese are not so erratic in their purchase as they were a few years ago , like any smart and big businessmen they have adapted , they know the exact dates of availability of crop from every major country. They have the volumes behind their back , they know eventually they can dictate the markets the way they want it and its showing.

Yes of course their will be up's and down's , there will be times of high demand and slow patient waiting but at the end of the Day the one with volumes will make do. Once you have the capacity to move volumes you automatically can average that much faster and work on lower margins.

Where a Big European company would have an annual volume of 1000 Mt/Year the smallest of Chinese Importer can book that much quantity in a day and move the volumes in matter of weeks.

Silver lining at the end of all the story is Hulled Sesame Seed still remain the forte of India. We have the expertise , we have the capacity and we have the resources. Unless China suddenly removes the duty barriers and start duty free Imports from India , in which case they would take everything we produce , we are all happy to serve the world with our Hulled Sesame.

India has for long played the "Elite Bar" game , where the waiter tells you " Last Order Sir" and you panic and order more than you really need just because you don't want to end up short ,the African's quietly and smartly have opened a 24 Hr after party place where anyone and everyone is welcomed at any given time. There is no reason why the Elite Bar's cannot survive , it surely will but some things need to be corrected.

The Hulled Sesame buyer's sooner or later need to understand that they control the Indian markets now, we have no where else to go , its the bitter truth atleast for the time being. So if YOU don't Panic WE don't Panic. Cargo is available all throughout the year and when someone tries to manipulate the markets with 10-20-30 FCL's 500-1000 Mt go back up to the 4th paragraph and read the global numbers. How long can one do it, How long can one sustain a Rally or a trigger a drop ,now that Big corporates are invested with Millions of dollars into this trade.

In the recent past the buyer's split their business to smaller players , anyone who wanted to buy 2 FCL's was sending Inquiries to 10 people and waiting for the best offer to choose from , little did they realize that India is a very open market , the 2 FCL inquiry multiplies to 20 and gets blown to 40 so if you only have one purchase per year it would make sense to do it but as a regular you have just triggered the market for your next purchase. What you saved in the first purchase is all but gone by the time you come in again to buy the next one. A quite controlled purchase from limited people would any day be a better option.

Just like in Poker for a Flush and Straight sometimes you need to see the River card and not act anxious, the other guy might just be holding a pair at best , yes you make loose sometimes but whenever you win ,you win Big. Choice is yours if you want to play against 5 opponents or narrow it down to a 1 on 1.

When most of India's trade is based on " I think " &" I have a feeling" the big boys in Africa and China are playing by " I Know " & " I am sure " rules.

African Sesame is under EU watch and 50% of the cargo's being imported will be checked which means heavy delays and costs for the Importers. To start their pricing may win but when the panic will set it for timely supply I assure you the only option to fall back on is India. The overheads in Imports and the costs people will pay for delayed supply will start reflecting in the books soon enough.

On a personal note I doubt prices will fall to the lows it touched this season , the reason being a lot of carry over stocks have emptied out and that has eased the pressure , a bullish run could also happen due to this factor but now since Africa is always on Indian stockiest mind it could well fizz away just as quickly. A slow steady increase is more likely to sustain than a sudden rally. My conclusion would be that most bearish reasons have already be factored into the current levels apart from the New Crop Arrival pressure. Current levels are a good buy and going ahead expect a slow steady rise ,right upto last season's top levels at best. So the benchmarks would be 10% above last seasons low's and 5% above last seasons High's.

I look forward to the pleasure of meeting you at Anuga and serving you this coming season. Please feel free to ask for anything that you need and I shall try my best to serve.

We welcome you to visit us at the Anuga Food Show
Mukul Gupta ( Director)
Shakumbhri Expo Impo Ltd
Tel   :- +91-131-2615164 , +91-131-9219415164
Mob:- +91-9837084355
Email:- ,


Friday, August 26, 2016

Indian Sesame Seed Monsoon/New Crop August 26th 2016

Hello Everyone, 

Its been a long time since I got that urge of sharing my views on Sesame Seed and with the Indian Crop just around the corner couldn't resist.

First looking back at the 2015-16 crop , must say its been quite a dull and boring year for the speculators but a fruitful one for those who like to do clean and simple business. Yes there were a few spikes in prices, one just at the beginning then a few more but the rally could not really sustain itself for long. We saw the lows of USD 1100-1150 FOB for the Hulled and  3 digit numbers for the Natural but that was momentarily. The markets remained range bound more or less most part the year in the range of $1400-$1500 FOB levels for the Hulled despite a smaller Summer crop.Ocean freights touched all time lows which helped as well.

Some Export Import Numbers :-

Year                                        Export
2010-11                                 - 398,441 MT  
2011-12                                 - 389,154 MT  
2012-13                                 - 299,482 MT
2013-14                                 - 257,443 MT
2014-15                                 - 375,656 MT
2015-16                                 - 328,429 MT
2016-17 ( April/May )            -   69,094 MT

Looking at the numbers despite low prices and a huge supply the Export Numbers actually dipped from India. Strange right? Actually no, if you look at the numbers of April/May the volumes have picked up again , almost at an average of 35,000 MT/Month. I have a feeling a similar number would be for June and July as well. Last years export numbers are less because it was exactly opposite during that period ,April-September 2015 export numbers were less and exports picked up dramatically only after the new crop arrived which balanced the figures.

What this also tells us that unlike last year the buyer's may be sitting on a substantially good volume of cargo in their warehouse at very attractive prices and patiently waiting to book profit as and when possible. The prices at consuming destinations is relatively stable due to this. 

Year                                        Import
2010-11                                 -  8,727   MT
2011-12                                 -     609   MT
2012-13                                 - 38,050 MT
2013-14                                 - 72,928  MT
2014-15                                 - 34,767  MT
2015-16                                 - 23,597  MT
2016-17                                 -   5,144   MT

The export numbers also concur with the above situation , the Imports were relatively less and picked up after African destination started offering huge discount parity advantage. Another fact is that some import coming into India is on special request for reexport to special client needs and does not follow the price pattern.

1:- China crop is being harvested now and from what we've heard its smaller than last year.They had lots of rains and a lost quite a big volume to the rains and the sowing was less as compared to previous years in line with the trend of last few years. Logically speaking that should spur the market there or atleast create a ripple but  nothing moved. China is in a different league all together now , they are importing close to 1 million MT of sesame seeds from various global suppliers now and for them the local crop really doesn't matter much as long there is another destination which can cover that void. The trade to china has become so accessible and with so many big players the local crop has taken an absolute back seat in their scheme of things.The port stocks in China are rumored to be at an all time high , some estimate it to be close to 200,000 MT which is like a 3 month consumption buffer stock. Over this their new crop and the incoming imports have really slowed down the trade in China.

2:- Africa , sowing currently on in various countries and Nigerian crop is ready for harvest. It it rumored to be a good crop, last year around the same time we heard of rumours of some damage to the African crops but nothing much really happened and they had a good harvest. I believe many African countries are keeping a close watch on the situation in China and India and with both rumored to have bad crops the area under sesame cultivation can increase. Past experience shows us how quickly the African nations can add areas to a particular crop , there has been almost a 200-250% growth in sesame volumes in the past decade , thats almost an average growth rate of 20% annually with potential to add more if needed thanks to all the surplus uncultivated virgin landmass they have.

Sesame also serves as a cash crop for the Africans with huge volumes moving quickly , which means more $'s to the nations where the trade is not anymore about commodity but more about who has the $'s in hand for Imports. 

As on date apart from flooding in some parts of Sudan no bad news from any African sowing area. Sudan non the less is sitting on huge stocks from last season and would be happy to sell it out at discounted prices due to steep currency fluctuation there and with new crop just months away it makes perfect sense as well.

3:- India , just like last year the Met department warned well in advance of a good monsoon this year , Sesame of course is not a water friendly crop so we saw a lot of crop shift during sowing at the start of the season. We had estimated that last year atleast 10-15% extra area was covered under sesame plantation apart from the official government sowing area numbers , that swing number is definitely out of calculations this year. Apart from that officially the sowing is less by about 15% as per government data. So at first calculations we can discount that this year's crop will be less by atleast 30% compared to last year. Now coming to the damage caused by heavy rains in the remaining crop. The trade estimates coming from various people involved put the numbers between 30-40%. 

However frankly speaking I am yet to witness a photographic proof of this. Yes , the rains have been heavy and knowing the sesame plants we can surely say the low lying field or whereever there was water logging the damage may have been severe but to put a percentage number on damage as a total would be too hard. Some fields may have been totally wiped off but some fields which survived will probably compensate for the volume losses by increased yields. My number for average loss would not be more than 20% as a whole. Still that gets us down by 50% compared to last year( 15% Swing Sowing area + 15% Less average sowing + 20% Damage due to Rains) . Thats a huge number and perfect recipe for the bulls. The new crop is highly unlikely to be available for export before Mid of October.

Current Situation and Future Predictions :-

1:- First the stock situation. Last year we had a great crop, infact it was more than we could handle at one point of time and so we saw the price go down to a 5 year low. It did rebound quickly enough though as those levels looked fairly attractive for everyone to step in a buy/stock a little as per need. However the huge crop made sure that markets remained range bound most part of the year. Everytime our beloved Korean Tender tried to take the market up the warehouse doors would open and suddenly everyone wanted to sell their stocks. The situation i think remains the same at the moment as well , If last years crop numbers were correct India still had a good 60,000-70,000 Mt of stock from last year.

Although this stock is primarily of a higher range but with new crop round the corner profit booking is bound to happen at every jump.Never before has India carried such a huge carry over into the next season. Some estimates put the carry over close to 100,000 MT which I think might be possible as well as its impossible to judge the holding capacity at farm levels and the exact crop size.

How much exactly is the crop in India actually no one really knows , its just a guess work based on average yields from some farms and area under cultivation as per government data.However I believe it must be accurate to 10% deviation. 

Last 4 years official data numbers are as follows

2012-13                    340,000 MT
2013-14                    350,000 MT
2014-15                    470,000 MT
2015-16                    540,000 MT

And there are only the Kharif (winter) crop numbers , the Rabi( summer) crop is over and above this.

So a comparison between last years crop and this years estimate give us a crop of about 280,000 MT (50% of last year) + 60,000 MT of carry over . Total about 340,000 Mt which is back to our 2012 number. Now if you just scroll up you will see this is exactly the number which inspired India to import in a big way. That trend is most likely to be repeated. We will surely import a huge quantity from Africa this year.

All said and done the question now is why isn't the market reacting the way it really should having seen the facts above. In the past we've seen Indian prices jump $100 on a day to day basis for no reason at all but this time it hasn't been able to do so. Practically everyone is bullish in India at the moment , be it the farmer , stockiest , trader or the exporter but still nothing much has happened. Yes the prices are moving up slowly but not at the pace they should have. 

We believe for a bullish market the bulls really need to get all their fundamental's right
1:- Low Carry over's
2:- Less new crop
3:- A steady and healthy export demand
4:- A steady and healthy domestic demand
5:- Good access to a lot of funds to hold onto stocks for longer period
6:- Low global availability of the cargo

While for the bearish market the Bears only need to get one of the above 5 right and the market either falls or stays put.

We think that there is still some confusion over Point 1,3 and Point 6 which is holding back the bull run. Once the carry over stocks reach a slightly low volume and combined with some overseas demand we can definitely witness an upward rally , however even then there is 
Point 6 which could play spoil sport from time to time. 

Conclusion :- 

The numbers definitely point towards a bullish year ahead , however for all the fundamentals to play out right at the same time is a big ask so for sure there will be checks and balances from time to time. This makes it even tricky as one could easily be caught on the wrong foot by either going short or long at the wrong time. Buyer's could loose out on a lot of business to their respective competitors if they don't have enough cargo at the right price and the right time to sell or could be stuck with high priced cargo in their warehouses with no takers.

Difficult decisions to make which will surely keep all the Buyer's on their toes this time.
Would be interesting to see how the markets move , will Africa follow India's bullish trend or will they be happy/Forced to sell at lower levels just because they have so much more to sell than India. Their prices will surely remain lower than India otherwise India cannot import anything either.

The Domestic demand in India has grown substantially over the years and will start to come into play next month onwards and remain strong till Mid Jan. Their buying patter is erratic and irrational with sentiments playing more importance rather than actual consumption sometimes.
For India it could be particularly difficult year as Africa might find a foothold in countries where it traditionally has little or no presence. However India still has the advantage and upper hand in terms of Quality and Fair delivery.  

Not pointing fingers at anyone , it would not be wrong to say that Africa does have a dismal record on delivery when prices move up beyond a certain range , so it could be that low priced long term contracts may never reach or may reach later than you really need it. Either ways the buyers would end up loosing money and more importantly their respective clients business. We all know the value of keeping our clients intact in today's competitive world, one wrong move and its game over.

Then again we could be totally wrong and things may have changed over the years , this is just an apprehension and comment based on past experiences heard from within the commodity trade. 

Our suggestions as always would be not to be a speculator , the swings could be huge. This suggestion is for both long and short. Stick to good and reputed suppliers and not gamble around much in a year which could be highly volatile. 

Your good supplier is just as  important as your good client these days , its a chain and we are all just links in between so we need to keep the chain strong.Overall I see current levels pretty much close to the base with higher limits open for debate.

The double skin Bengal Hulled might make a comeback this year if the prices go up so my advice to the buyers ,Kindly be extra careful from whom and what you buyer specially in Hulled Sesame Sector. A few 100 dollars saved at the time of purchase may end up being a few 1000 $ claim plus reputation lost by the time the cycle is completed.

The USD has been fairly stable and hopefully will remain so in the near future with indian economy doing alright at the moment. However the ocean freights which went down to all time lows are bound to go up , infact have already gone up so that needs to be factored in as well for longer view of the market.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sesame Seed Situation Feb 23rd

Markets as expected this year were bearish , however the fall has been substantially more that anyone expected. The major factor to this probably is a huge buffer stock that China had at the start of the season and a very big crop in India. The currency fluctuation in India as well as in Africa have impacted hugely to this fall as well.

Looking at the current situation it is evident that almost all of the trade is stuck with some high priced cargo in their warehouses , some are moving is quickly some waiting for th tides to turn. However i believe in a few months time the stocks and prices will balance out itself and the trade will start to move smoothly. There is little chance of a huge upturn at the moment as few African nation’s will harvest their crops in the coming months and India will also have their summer crop as well.

The farm arrivals in India have dropped as expected but there is still a huge stock in the warehouses which will easily sustain the little demand that will flow for the next few months, looking ahead i believe there will be some high’s in times to come but i doubt they will be sustainable for long periods. In general terms for the next 6 months , 180 days till the next big crop in China and India is harvested i see more days with stable or falling market than upward movement.

Once again i doubt there is a fall in consumption worldwide its just that people do not want to stock more than they actually need which is keeping the markets bearish. Everyone has their own idea of bottom levels and frankly speaking my levels have already been breached so cannot put a finger on a level where the markets will finally stop at. However at current levels the prices do look attractive and chances of loosing money on stocks at current levels are slim. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sesame Seed New Crop 2015

Hello Everyone ,

Im sure everyone is already aware , the new Indian Sesame crop is just around the corner.

Sowing this year has been great owing to some early monsoon rains and timely news of a low rainfall year. The farmers reacted in time and a lot of area was diverted to low water crops , sesame ofcourse being one of them.

The weather to a great extent has been favourable for a great harvest season , however a fairly long dry spell after Mid August all the way till now may affect the yields in certain areas where irrigations facilities are minimal. Having said that the overall increase in acreage might just negate any such losses and we should still see a huge crop ahead.

We’ve already witnessed the first signs of that as the markets have been discounted over 20-25% just on this news alone , the other factor ofcourse being the Rupee-USD ratios. The values have declined by almost 10% Y2Y basis.

Recently there was a conference on Sesame Seed in China where big players from all over the globe came and presented their views , just summarizing that for everyone around who was not there.

1:- China crop once again has been short , we’ve not seen a growth year in china for I think a decade now , the area for sesame seems to be reducing each year and some heavy rains led to further damage. The crop may be shorter by around 70,000-80,000 Mt compared to last year. However going by the business and consumption trends of china I’m not really worried about their crop size anymore, they are the biggest importers and consumers now and no matter what , they will go out and buy from wherever they find the quality and prices that suit them best for various uses.  A few thousand Metric tons  more or less I don’t think makes a difference to them as long as some country in the world has cargo to offer , weather the cargo comes from their own farm or from Latin America its not a big issue anymore as the trade now is much more organized.

2:- The Chinese imports

 2013                                      - 440,000 MT                     
 2014                                      - 570,000 MT
 2015(Mid June)                    - 430,000 MT

This means that they have good 6 months to cover the balance 140,000 + any shortfall they see in their crop + annual growth , which explains their slow buying pattern in the recent past. The carry over stocks are also fairly good for them to sustain till the end of the year where they can wait and watch the new African crop’s coming in and deciding to step in at the levels they feel comfortable from the origins that suits them best.

Similar numbers for Japan were also projected .
2013                                       - 140,000 MT           
2014                                       - 170,000 MT
2014( Mid June)                    -  95,000 MT (Approx )

Japan is also assumed to be fairly good on stocks and is not in a rush to enter the markets.

3:- Myanmar crop has always remained a mystery in terms of size and exports due to the border trade with China but rumors have it that their crop is also less than previous years due to heavy rainfall however those numbers are always debatable and its hard to predict what effect they will have on the global situation.

4:- African producing countries in East and West Africa all seems to have a good crop situation this year . Although only a few countries have had their sowing/harvest done so far the trend certainly points to a better crop in the coming season. There is no reason to believe that the sowing patterns will change due to softer prices as the sesame crop is now a fast selling product for the African farmers and still fetching them a fair price. Apart from some damage news from Sudan all other destinations should in my opinion have a similar or better crop than last year and there are carry over stocks in some countries as well.

5:- No confirmed news from South American destinations but the news says the prices there are soft as well with no rush or panic demand from anywhere.

6:- Coming to the Indian crop now.

    A:- Sowing is estimated to be 10-15% more than last year .This number is huge owing to the fact that it was actually less than normal last year due to a failed monsoon and in some cases total washout due to heavy flooding in certain areas.
A normal sowing area anyways gives us a huge crop but a 10-15% addition could result in what they say a “ Bumper Crop” .

    B:- Carry over stocks are not much , should be in the range of  25,000-30,000 MT max all areas put together . These are mostly the stocks with people who had stocked at high levels and are now stuck. The normal trend of stocking in India is that you invest say 20-25% of the money and get the balanced financed from the bankers when you stock the commodity in a warehouse. The prices for their stocks is now 25-30% lower and hence the stockiest are practically loosing on their entire deposit so all they can do it wait and play it slow hoping for a jump or at end they will just rotate their old stocks with new cargo and carry on.  That is why we are already seeing a disparity in prices with forwards being cheaper than the spot prices. The crop would have harvested early but some rains last week has pushed the arrival forward by a week or so, we expect tradable quantities to start arriving in various market yard by Mid of October.

   C:- Their was some issue with lesser rains in August and September and I do believe it may have stopped the “Bumper Crop” year from happening but a big crop non the less is surely on its way. The yields will be affected and crop size may reduce a little than expected but the quality should actually be better owing to lesser rain damaged crop. Once again hard to put a number on the crop that is still in the field but im assuming it should be atleast 15-20% more than last year. Everyone ofcourse has their own numbers for last year crop so you will have to do the maths.

Some Export Import Numbers :-

Year                                        Export
2010-11                                 - 398,441 MT 
2011-12                                 - 389,154 MT 
2012-13                                 - 299,482 MT
2013-14                                 - 257,443 MT
2014-15                                 - 375,656 MT

Year                                        Import
2010-11                                 -  8,727  MT
2011-12                                 -    609   MT
2012-13                                 - 38,050 MT
2013-14                                 - 72,928 MT
2014-15                                 - 34,767 MT

The last 2 years numbers are particularly very interesting for India , as you can see the export numbers have seen a steep increase in 2014-15 compared to the years before this even after India supposedly having a bad crop year. The import numbers have also seen a significant rise. India imported almost 100,000 MT that means we were almost among the top 5 worldwide importer along with the top exporting country.

India contributes roughly 30,000 Mt to the Korean Imports through the tender and we all know what big noise we Indian’s make about it. We actually imported more than what we contributed to the Korean Tender. With a huge crop expected this year it is highly unlikely India will be a importing destination this season , atleast not in a big way as some imports coming into India are based on customer requirement for African Hulled Seed which is being catered by some Huller's in India.
This means the African's will have a little more quantity in hand to sell elsewhere as India moves out of the importing equation.

Anyways I think the world market does’nt really move the way we in India think it does.
Last year we had a smaller crop and the volumes increased but markets still went down , 
the years before we had bigger crop yet the volumes decresead  but still the prices went up.

I guess the market movement is not really determined by what and how much you have to sell, its dependent more on when and how much the others want to buy. Buyer's market in simple words despite whatever we may think.

China having a short crop is no guarantee of markets moving up and similarly India having a huge crop is not a surety of prices going down. 

Markets we believe have already been discounted to a huge extent already in anticipation and in relation to all the above factors and more. The Currency movement being one of them.
We may still be a little off the bottom as the actual crop pressure is still to be seen and the buying/Stocking pattern worldwide still to unfold but with so much already factored in another steep fall from here looks remote now. Then there is always the Edible oil parity question , any oilseed getting cheaper weighs down on the mixing and blending for support and with the current prices of sesame it is almost at par or even lower than a few oilseeds already. 

There will surely be a great buying window for people who keep a watch on the market and then a rally back upwards for stability and parity with the global demand supply.We've seen a steady growth even when prices touched USD 3000 PMT and there is no reason to believe that demand or consumption will slow down at sub $2000 levels. The breach of $2000 /PMT for Hulled Sesame was really something i did not see coming so soon but it happened partly because of the currency changes and the huge supplies coming in from Africa. Looking at the world Import/Export numbers there seems to be no fall in consumption just change in buying destination and addition of newer suppling countries. 

My conclusion for the new crop once again would be to buy and sell at all levels rather than waiting for the bottom or peak’s. The policy of most buyers in the recent past had been spot buying and selling and looking at the market volatility and the economic conditions worldwide we believe its still the safest way to deal in commodities.  

The norms worldwide for food are becoming stricter by the day and I see no respite from this in the coming future , there are a lot of people in the trade who probably do not know anything beyond Sesame Seed , USD ????? CNF ?????.
They are least bothered or aware about what they are selling or even buying in some cases. Food Safety is here to stay. The more we interact as buyers/sellers the better it is for everyone involved.

 “Garbage In Garbage Out”

 I had pointed out a couple of years ago the birth of Double skin Bengal Hulled Sesame Seed and other varieties of Pearly White Chemically Bleached Hulled Sesame Seed made from Brown sesame etc and im sure a lot of the clients who fell for those varieties learnt a expensive lesson. Thankfully the markets got aware and with a bigger crop this year I am hopeful that such varieties will find fewer takers.