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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Market Report October 17th 2012

I am sure last few days have been busy for everyone. Everyone was waiting to get some numbers on the new season and last week our association IOPEPC finally came out with some.

It was great to know that the market report was being circulated in real time by some of our friends. I actually got an SMS IN the conference hall with the same crop numbers on the screen even before the presentation was over , it was hilarious :) but that's India for everyone.

Now to some interesting facts and numbers , which most of you probably are already familiar with.


1:- Total Crop Predicted in the range of  270,000 MT -280,000 MT. Since this year the crop survey was done by an outside agency and not by the people of the trade i would take this number to be more or less accurate with 10% margin on either side.

I really hope the error is on the higher side because a crop less than 250,000 would be a real bad situation for the trade.

2:- UP/MP is about 150,000 MT put in total so thats where most of the cargo will come from as always. Rajasthan about 80,000 Mt and Gujarat about 25-30,000 Mt at Max . Since most of the Rajasthan/Gujarat crop will anyways go for Natural 99/1,98/2 grade , everyone can safely save on the "Gujarat Origin Hulled" premium till summer crop next year , because I don't think after taking out the natural grades and stockist share there is much available for hulling.

3:- Globally , China is short and thats a confirmation as well , though various trade organization and sources. The shortfall compared to last year is about 100,000 Mt , which is just about the same as India.
So overall the world shortage about 200,000MT which need to be filled, from where and hows lets see.

3:- African all origins are doing well this year. All the crops that have come out till now have been good and almost same as their previous years.However the 2 biggest crops from Africa i.e Ethiopia and Sudan are yet to be harvested and if reports are to be believed the sowing and weather have all been good. If anyone can fill the 200,000 Mt global gap its these 2 countries.

4:- The carry over stocks worldwide in all producing and consuming countries have been less than previous years as well , that again is a confirmation and no rumor or else we would not be in a situation as we are today.


India crop as I reported in my last report is late . Almost all the reasons we predicted were indeed spot on for the small crop this year round.

I know some would say last year as well we had predicted a small crop ( SEPT 15th 2011) report and stated bullishness and were wrong. I agree. We did go wrong on the preditions but like i always say , I just compile what i hear from sources and yes we were wrong on the Number but not on the bullishness factor. Markets did remain bullish all throughout , its just that the customers did not feel the pinch because the USD from Rs.44 in Aug 11 moved to Rs. 57 in Aug 2012. This year however i think chances of a reversal are more than further weakness. Its already down to Rs 53 from Rs 57 highs.

Looking at some numbers :-

2010 2011 2012
Gujarat 50 40 20
Rajastan 130 110 80
MP 70 50 70
UP 80 100 80
Maharastra 10 10 10
'000 MT 340 310 260

In the past 2 years the India exports have been

                                  2010-11              2011-12            2012-13

Sesame Export         398,000            399,000                   ---

Ofcourse the Export numbers include the Brown and Crushing grade Sesame as well which comes from other states than the above mentioned 5 and the summer crop production , but this also includes the Hulled Sesame and Cleaned Sesame Numbers which means a lot more quantity in terms of farm level. Not to forget the Domestic demand also came out from these production numbers .

So what does these numbers suggest? I would say 2 things

a:- If the global demand remains the same , India is short on supply this year for sure.

b:- Carry over stocks have mostly been consumed over the past few years due to mismatch production and Export numbers.


There have been some news of late sowing in the market. The current trend is to underplay that news because no one wants to be out of the pack trying to justify that there could be a bearish factor as well in the near future. I am not sure how big or small that late sowing crop could be but if a significant number comes out in late november it could stall if not derail the bullish trend for a while.

Africa comes out in December and that can be a game changer. With the excess stocks they have in hand they can really go full throttle on the sales and come out with aggressive prices and take away the advantage from India. It could lead to be a cat and mouse game after that. India will drop its prices to recapture the market, Africa with its bumper crop will drop further and we see a crash as we have seen many a times in India. But there is a big IF in this situation , IF africa comes out with the numbers projected so far because the carryover in Africa are not significant either so this game cannot be played with cards in hand , it will all depend on the cards that are dealt to us in December.

The demand can and probably will shrink a bit as well as we have seen in the past with higher levels. At high levels the risk capacity reduces significantly and people tend to start focussing on other money making avenues to cut their risk. The consumption slows down and people tend to stock very little or prefer back to back trade which in turn makes the market nervous and keep the price movements limited.

Koreans have been a significant market movers in the past few years and any infiltration on this front by african players can set the cat amongst the pigeon and pull down the market, India will have to be competitive enough to grab the korean market share again. We shall know that in a few days time as a 6000 MT Korean is scheduled for 24th October. Maybe the africans will not be aggressive in this one but the price acceptance should prepare the african contingent for the next battle.


A lot of people when talking of sesame this year start the comparison with the 2007-2008 yr where the markets went crazy and beyond anyone's wild imagination.  There are also comparisons with what happened in GUAR GUM with their unbelievable growth in the past few years.

However there are a few changes i believe since then that we should keep in mind

1:- In 2007 , China was short and Africa was short . India was the only supplier so technically what happened in India that year should happen in Africa this year. With no cargo or with most swept and locked warehouse what are you left with to sell. When we dont have anything to sell the price could be anything but you are not making money , right.

2:- In 2007 China had recently become a next importer , till 2001-2 it was also an exporter with a huge crop. Their crop was going down slowly , their domestic demand was picking up and they started cutting down on export when 2007 happened and suddenly they had a very short crop and they were caught offguard. At that point they primarily preferred india to cater to their imports and that led to a very bullish buying from India.

Now ofcourse the situation is entirely different , they import most of their requirements from Africa and will look first towards Africa to fill in their crop deficit. The Border trade with India should continue as well. This time their import numbers suggest that they were well prepared for a short crop and hence started to clean up the African stocks much in advance. However their stocks are still at lower levels and they will have to buy soon.

3:- The $ was not as much volatile back then at is now , with 1% +/- movements on a daily basis and 10% or more movement over a full year horizon.

4:- The demand has certainly grown as well in the past 5 years where as the crops have not grown in tandem.


We are BULLISH. No doubt about that. I think if someone manages to catch the bottom levels there are good chances they will make money on a long term basis this year. YES , there will be up's and down's. There will be times of low demand , there will be times of global competitiveness but on a long terms basis , on a 12 month scenario till next crop we are definitely bullish.

The new crop as predicted is late and not even fully out in the market but we saw some upwards movement already. I think it was more of a panic situation after hearing the numbers. I do expect some corrections in the coming weeks as farmers/stockist will first test the waters by letting out the first arrivals before holding back and that is when the game really starts. However mistakes and misses are most likely to happen in the falling market so everyone really needs to be on their toes for the next few weeks. Things could change drastically after Diwali.

That said , If things turn out to be the way they are expected , my previous JULY 19th report about benchmark reset should stand correct and Sesame for the near future will not be a sub 2000$(Hulled) commodity anymore.

People have been talking about 100-150% growth in price , I once again wish i knew the limits but in a bullish year and the current volatile global market situation it should not be wrong to wish for atleast 50% price growth. Im sure everyone can do the maths on this.

Once again our suggestion would be to be in the market all the time rather than waiting for the bottom levels. A good average  is more likely to ease off the pressure than having sleepless nights to catch the bottom the next morning.

Like always would be nice to have your suggestions and comments. We can connect on Skype :- mukulgupta78 or you can mail me anytime on

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sesame Seed Market Report July 19th , 2012

Hello Everyone,

"All said and done , the market is hanging on its edge I believe" . If you read my last report you would remember these words :)

What an amazing turnaround it has been for sesame seed in the past few weeks. The sellers were literally on their knees begging the customers to buy something and no one was stepping in. The 5% duty rebate was taken away and the markets still did not push forward and that I think was very surprising indeed.

So the question now is WHY and HOW and more importantly WHAT NOW. Once again i wish i knew. But lets work on some points to understand the WHY first.


1:- The bullish feeling as we all know started at the start of the season. Stocks were low but so was the demand.
The demand came slow and steady and that helped keep the market range bound for most part of the season. The carry forward stocks were good too and stockiest gave up on the market and diluted their excess stocks , barring some rigid and financially strong players. By the time we finished the Oct crop , the Summer crop stepped in and eased the pressure that had just started to build up. However with 2 big back to back Korean Tenders ( Almost 24,000 MT ) that's like half the summer crop sold the pressure lid was off. 

2:- After April everyone was going slow in the market. The buyers were going hand to mouth and so were the sellers , it was the logical thing to do looking at the global demand situation but how wrong were we all. 

3:- With Mr Dollar acting strong no one realized that even though the prices in USD terms looked stable and range bound they were actully heating up in Rupee terms from the farmer and stockiest point of view. Everyone failed to judge the undercurrent that was starting to build up.

4:- Delayed and irritate monsoon. Its the same story every year and sometimes we are right sometimes wrong but it does have a very important  market impact.Its crazy to judge the volume and size of the crop right now but the fact remains that with late rains the sowing is late and that means the crop will be delayed. Even if we assume all sowing finished by July 15th , 90 days crop means crop will not be harvested before Mid Oct and available to exporters and factory by end of Oct for shipments. That means the first new crop containers will not reach the destinations before End November.

5:- Commodity bullishness in other commodities. Since most of you deal in multiple commodities you would know nothing is cheap at the moment so what should sesame remain at the bottom of the chart. Rumours of crop shifting by farmers may or may not be true but if you were a farmer and you had the option to grow anything out of Guar( All time high prices and still strong demand) , Groundnut , Cotton , Soya and Lentils what would you choose .Im sure some if not many will change their loyalties to sesame seed.

Now that we've see a few Why's and How's , lets change to 


1:- Indian's as most would say have played the Bluff card time and again in the past , maybe this is just another one. Maybe you're right , but what if you are wrong. We've all seen what happened in the past and there is no reason why it cannot happen again.

2:- Stocks are definitely low , no doubt about that and this I'm not stating from a general prospective but hard facts being in the middle of the action. Part of the reason could be that stockiest and sellers are getting greedy and do not want to sell in anticipation of higher margins but also because they have very little in hand to sell. 
Who doesn't like profits, if you have 10 apple  in hand you sell 2-3 at a certain price and make profit and then wait for the next rally , then you repeat the process right ,basic rule of Business. But what if you only have 2-3 in hand , you wait and wait to get as close to the peak as you can. Thats exactly whats happening in India right now.

3:- Best case scenario  : Demand stops , market stabilizes , new crop is good , prices are revised 10-15% as they always do and the next season prices remain rangebound.
    Worst case scenario : Panic demand comes in , Stockist hold back creating artificial shortage , Prices rally to staggering highs , New crop is bad , everyone rush in to cover the first seed available and the vicious cycle continues for the rest of the season.

Ofcourse the best and worst care scenario would depend which side of the fence are you on.

Another interesting observation, Every commodity as we know moves in cycles , its a proven fact and remains valid for everything from gold, silver , oil , food everything. Sesame seed if you all remember had a benchmark price of about $500-$600 way back in 2001-2002 . Then some factors pushed it up to about $1100-1200 and finally the benchmark for the next few yr 2005-2006 was set to around $1000-$1100 range. The cycle repeated itself and prices rushed unto staggering highs and after correction the benchmark for the past few yrs was set at around $1500-$1600 range.

My assumption is that its time for another benchmark correction jump. I don't know what high's the prices can reach in months to come but i do know that in the coming years the bench mark will be revised to around $2000-$2100 range. Its a necessary evil and over a period of time we all learn to live with it , if these benchmark prices were not revised periodically the commodity would lag behind and die slowly as the farmers would fall behind in the inflationary numbers. 

Another thing is the growing consumption , I personally feel that consumption world wide is growing slowly for everything and that includes sesame seed (oil form mostly i think) , although the growth of 3-4% annually may not suddenly reflect in the prices each year these growth  numbers do add up over a period of time and make the reset benchmark prices even more logical.

Like I said a few year back , this year its time to renew old bonds and search out your trusted suppliers , it could be a rough ride ahead. My father always tells me " If you don't have a good supplier , no matter how good a salesman you are you will never make money"

Once again it would be nice to have your comment and suggestions.  
Attahed is the Rainfall data unto last week from govt sources, you can see most sesame sowing areas are way too dry for full fledge sowing. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

sesame seed April 2012

Hello Everyone,

Finally some movement in the sesame markets. Last six months as we all know were quite boring with the prices moving sideways or downwards most of the time.

When I look at the export numbers ,the demand has not really gone down , the quantities remain the same with slight fluctuations over the past 3-4 yrs average but still the feeling was opposite.It seemed that the buyers were purchasing less , people were eating or using lesser sesame but the numbers really say that was not the case.

What i really think is that the market dynamics have changed quite a bit over the past few yrs , traditionally Oct-March were peak buying seasons and most buyers covered enough in these months to sustain their sales till May-June, then in June-July-Aug we saw slow demand and then buyer's would wait a month and rush for the new crop in October again , this was the trend in past. What I think has happened now that with so much volatility in the market the buyers are buying more back to back hence the demand-consumption in the months of Oct-Mar is slow and stable.

However that also means that the buying will continue all year round now and that we do not see the so called " off season " anymore. From the average that we have the monthly demand still stands at about 22-25,000 MT per month or about 260-300,000 MT per year. The demand pattern are more of less same every month, with slight variations when the Korean Tender exports are made which are usually 4-5 times per yr.

Now getting back to the Current situation.

What happened ,why the sudden rise? A question that everyone has on their minds at the moment.Well there are a few points which collectively are responsible i think , lets look at them point by point

Start of the season everyone said the crop was lesser than previous years , True. Everyone was Bullish , True .
A lot less long term business was done , True.
Everyone is India had excess stocks , True.

Then the demand factor stepped in,demand was slow for reasons discussed above and everyone was caught off guard. The strong USD played its part and prices looked low in terms on $ but in reality they were still strong in Rupee terms. Soon the Hulling factories had no option but to keep selling at discounted prices to keep the machines running although the raw material prices kept stable in Rupee terms.

2:- Everyone kept ignoring the facts and got rid of their excess stocks by Mid March and never covered again thinking why stock when the market is not moving anyways.
This goes both for suppliers as well as buyers.

3:- India has a total of about 800,000 MT of sesame , White, Brown , Black , Red( Double Skin for Oil Crushing ) and we export about 300,000Mt that means the rest is always consumed domestically for Oil crushing , we keep ignoring this factor and this time it caught up with us. The Crushing crop in West Bengal and South India were short and they starting using other grades which resulted in some panic.

4:- African crop was not as big as it was assumed to either , from what we know they are out of stocks as well and that means the middle east demand has shifted to India. Egypt which traditionally buys 90% of Sudan seeds is running short on supplies and has been covering from India slowly.

5:- Stockist had covered material at higher levels at the start of season and after sitting on the stocks for last 6 months they see a glimmer of hope that they can make money , the weaker one's have already sold out but the stronger one's who hold the cargo can afford to wait a few more months and create a artificial shortage in the market.

I still believe there is enough raw material in the market for everyone but will it be available at cheap discounted prices anymore is a big question. Personally i doubt it. I also believe that if prices are too high the demand might slow down , although it has not been the case with many other commodities which moved up 50-60% in the last year , Guar , cotton, Mustard , Soya , Peanuts have all been bullish.

The point is there is no long term substitute to Indian Sesame even if the prices go crazy, who will sell cheap? Africa moves in tandem with Indian prices anyways , even if they are less by 5-10% how many buyers can switch their demand overnight and start buying from there. Its easier said than done. South America is way too expensive anyways and even if we reach their levels and the demand shifts there i doubt they have the capacity/stocks to full fill the increased demand.

Summer crop in India which comes out in May-June might help ease the prices or might add fuel to the prices . If the supply side remains quite for the next 1 month and stock inventory goes down then their might be a mad rush to buy the summer crop and that might trigger another bull run.

Overall i believe situation is still well under control , the prices reasonable and still no reason to panic. The buyer's have seen low levels for the past few months and now they can continue to buy a little more at current levels and still have a good average before things go out of hand.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sesame Seed Korean Tender Feb 2012

This season started with a lot of hope and bullishness. The crop was less, the stocks were low , the buyer’s did not cover long and everyone anticipated fireworks. Fireworks did go up in the local markets here in India but I guess they were not bright enough for the world to see , Mr “ US$ “ decided it was time to bring back some excitement and poor Indian Rupee depreciated by almost 20% in a span of 4 month.

This practically negated any gains the raw material prices had made and prices remained stable and on the lower side. When the crop started we had predicted a resistance @ $1750 levels for Hulled sesame on the lower side and $1900 on the up side. If you exclude the $ factor the prediction has been close enough.

Now to the current situation :-

1:- India got 9000 MT Korean Tender on the 15th of Feb .The deliveries though are spread out upto April and that eases a lot of pressure which could have built up. However the point remains that 9000 Mt will move out of India soon and the sellers will slowly replenish their stocks in the meantime.

2 :- The farmers are hesitant to sell at lower prices & accordingly adjust their arrivals in the markets. We are still to see levels below the opening prices of this season despite very slow demand in the past few weeks. I guess the farmers are holding back strongly this year in anticipation of a bull run like previous years around Mid year when the news for the summer crop arrives. The crop was certainly less than last year as well.

3:- Last few weeks we have seen a price disparity between the Natural Sesame Prices and Hulled Sesame Prices. The Natural Sesame or 99-1 grade prices seem to have moved sideways and remains stagnant while Hulled prices have dropped. This is mainly because most factories did not go long this year and was doing back to back business and as soon as the demand slowed down around Chinese new year Holidays a lot of newer-smaller factories have started to panic. Its perfectly understandable for business entities like them who are new in trade with a lot of Fixed capital borrowing to act in the way that they have. They need turnover to get their books shiny for the bankers. Also in India the financial year ends on 31st march so a lot of these smaller factories need to sell off their stocks to repay the bank credits.

4:- The USD was Rs 44.50 -1 $ in Aug , It moved all the way upto Rs 54.5 -1$ in Jan and has been hovering around the Rs 49 mark for the past few weeks . That’s a movement of 20% upwards and 10% backwards , and its getting volatile with every passing day. Its hard to predict which way it could be heading in the next 4-5 months.

5:- African prices remain more of less stable. Their crop was same as last year and they don’t seem to be in rush to sell cheap either. Like in the past few years they have managed to keep their pricing just around the Indian levels to take advantage of the Duty benefits they get in China and ofcourse Japan continues to prefer their seeds.

6:- What good is a report without some rumors and the latest is that in Gujarat the winter harvesting was delayed a bit due to cold conditions and that the summer crop sowing has not yet started there. Usually it should as being a 90 days crop , mid feb sowing means Mid May Harvesting. Also the farmers seem to be more inclined to groundnut and Guargum this year as they have give better returns. Will wait and see what happens.

All said and done , the market is hanging on its edge I believe , depending on demand the USD it could swing either ways in matter of weeks. In the meantime few suppliers are on “Discount Sale” and I think it’s a good opportunity to shop a little to make a good average for the year. If I have learnt anything from the global crises in the past few years is that people who wait for the Bottom and Peak are the one’s who loose out the most , people who have been working on averages have managed to survive the storm much better.