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Friday, November 8, 2013

Sesame Seed Market Report 8th Nov 2013

Hello Everyone,

So finally the wolf has arrived. All these years we've had the same stories from India about short crop , no raw material , no carry over stocks but this year it looks like the story is finally true.

Ohh...My God , Are you guys Crazy...etc etc , some of the very common phrases we have been hearing everytime over the past few weeks and to a certain extent I agree with the clients that Indians have indeed gone crazy. Yes the markets are short but the kind of daily/weekly movement we have seen in the recent past are just plain crazy.

Like I have been saying for the last few months that the market remains bullish despite the prices which fell periodically from time to time , the reason being more currency driven rather than an excess supply or a lack of demand.

Let us look what happened first :-

1:- We all knew that India had a good monsoon but we failed to recognize the fact that a good monsoon   does not always mean a good crop specially when the crop is sesame . I had specifically mentioned this point in my september report before the crop even arrived.

2:- Carry over stocks were depleting quickly and we thought we can live without them as soon as the new crop would come in.

3:- The currency movements were so sharp in the past few months that it made the markets almost directionless .Everyone was playing more with the currency rather than the actual commodity prices.

Current Situation :-

1:- Despite the initial losses due to heavy rains in India and the losses in the northern states of UP/MP the growth figures coming from Rajastan and Gujrat made everyone believe that the overall numbers of total crop would be more or less same as last year , however the late rains changed all that.

2:- The numbers put forward by various agencies/associations/trade estimates say the total crop is around 200,000 - 220,000 Mt. I would say these numbers are more or less correct looking at the average arrivals in the local markets over the past 30 days.

3:- I have no doubts that the export numbers from India will fall dramatically this year however from now until October 2014 the majority of global Hulled Sesame demand will still have to catered by India which means we will still easily export about 200,000 MT in the coming 10 months.

4:- Korean Tenders have shown an affinity towards the Indian suppliers and even the last tender was a testimonial of the fact that a major share of the Korean Tender will still be catered by India despite the high prices here. In a previous report I have explained how the complications with documents , the finances involved , the complicated Bid bonds etc ,the consistency in Quality and transit/delivery period all put together give an advantage to India for the Tenders.

5:- Last year we had carry over stocks at the start of the season , Indian's entered African market early and got some really really nice bargains for Importing the sesame into india which helped keep the market under control , this year however the Africans are in no mood to sell cheap to India. With prices already very high the risk factor has gone up so much that the handful of people who really do Import and reexport from India are also in a wait zone.

6:- The supply continues to remain weak  , the quality coming into the markets is 90% rain damage which means although it can be used for hulling the yields will be much lower compared to previous years which would mean higher pricing for Hulled. Sometimes for the factories it takes a little longer to realize the losses/cost increase due to yields and lower sales but I am sure eventually everyone will realize these finer points and costings for hulling units will have to be revised.

7:- The 99/1 grade is in very very short supply , the arrival overall are not even 100 mt /day for good quality which means that the prices for good quality Natural are almost at par with those of low quality hulled.

8:- At the moment there are only 3 kinds of buyers in the market
     a:- Exporters who sold forward and are short.

     b:- Buyer's who sold forward and did not cover.

     c:- Domestic demand which despite high prices is very strong atleast till dec.

    So even though a lot of buyers who say they have enough in their books and are well covered for the next few months  have not been covering more at higher levels , I am afraid suddenly everyone will realize their warehouses are empty and will jump back into the market at high levels asking for spot shipments creating a bigger ripple than there already is.

What can happen over the next few months :-

1:- Diwali festival is over , everyone in India waiting in anticipation that the arrivals will increase after diwali and a correction will happen. I have a feeling it might be correct, however we have time and again told our buyer that the window will be very small . Anyone waiting to catch the bottom might just miss the train altogether.

2:- If the arrivals do pick up we might see a correction of about 5-6 % , I am not expecting a big fall right away as the supply chain is still empty. A supply based bullishness can only be countered by excess supply and unfortunately we do not see any big supplies coming in and pulling the markets down.

3:- If the arrivals do not pick up everyone should be ready to pay a further premium of about 10% . We are already at all time high levels in terms on pricing in Indian rupee but there is always scope of some further upward movement.

4:- I remember a few yrs ago when Hulled Sesame crossed Rs 100 everyone said its just not sustainable and prices will crash , I explained the phenomenon in a previous report about new market benchmarks which are bound to happen every few yrs , I guess the next target would be Rs 200 , I doubt that atleast for this year it will be breached or can be sustained even if we do manage to touch it but I am sure that the current prices are fair  enough to be workable over the new few months.

5:- Africa as we all know holds the key to the markets , if the big boys there start manipulating the markets , which is very much possible looking at the global situation right now we are in for a tough year ahead.

6: -The news from Africa is not very promising either , none of the destinations are reported to have a bumper crop , at least not to the extent that they can cover the losses in number's we've had in India and China. BTW China crop was reported short as well and by estimates is only around 250,000 Mt.

Ofcourse the demand will fall this year and maybe to a certain extent some institutional buying from big bakers and confectionary makers will be less. However like in the past we still firmly believe that price is not a deterrent atleast for food products. A company may think that since their sales are down people are eating less , the fact in most case is just that one of your competitor is now cheaper or has ready cargo to offer and your buyer has merely shifted their demand to someone else to average out their costs and to sustain their demands because you didn't have enough to offer.

Some of my friends tell me..Ahh you can live without sesame , who's gonna pay such high prices.
But I tell them we can live without a lot of things we don't really need  yet people pay loads of money to eat them.

I do believe a good chunk of sesame application will be shifted towards other seeds but as the wheels turn everyone will notice that the retailers over a period of time have revised their prices and when prices of sesame do fall these people will make a killer profits as retail prices hardly ever get revised downwards and the one's who sat back will regret not being among them.But thats for long term , just a thought :)

I've heard numerous arguments of Africa emerging as a competitor and taking over the market share of India. The reports are absolutely 100% correct , did'nt India do the same taking over the market share of South America and china. The fact is we dont have enough seeds in India so naturally we are more expensive than Africa is at the moment . Africa also has the advantage of heavy export subsidies , currency valuations against USD and duty benefits in China but all these factors put together do not make a stable and a long term growth story. Its all about which country has a better and bigger crop , so atleast for the next few years the global markets cannot ignore the India story. Once India gets back its big crop that would be the time for a fair comparison.

As always our suggestions this year would be

1:- Stick to your reliable suppliers. A regular and old supplier is more likely to help you make a good average over long term rather than any flash supplier who is offering 4-5% cheaper right now.
I would not  suggest gambling away $60,000 for a $1000-1500 saving on a container.

2:- Stick to Quality , in short term switching to cheaper grade of sesame might look like a good decision but in longer run you risk loosing your potential clients when problems start and you unknowingly enter into a price war market where the competition is that much tougher. If you loose a business because a client wanted lower quality because it works for him there is a chance he will come back to you when he has problems or when he wants to move up in terms of quality segment but when a client moves away because he's looking for the cheapest price of the lowest quality where do you go.

Everyone in commodity market knows the china story , they captured every segment of business with cheaper prices but the party didn't last long. Would you today buy a cheap chinese product or a slightly expensive one made elsewhere ? BTW both sell , its just a matter of prospective.

3:- Like always please do not be tempted to catch the bottom , the best way forward is working on a average and atleast for hulled I would say an average price of USD 2800-2850 over the next few months should be a good buy this time. You might not get the volumes every-time so its important to be active in the markets at all levels and keep shopping/selling at all levels.

Sesame is no longer a cheap commodity and it sure is a very volatile one , in the next few years the competition is bound to get smaller because the smaller players will be pushed aside as the profit margins will be far less than the proportionate prices of investments and the risks involved , the one's who will survive will be the one's who stuck to the basics of business.
Right Quality - Right Price.

Once again we thank you for all the support and look forward to you comments.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Sesame Seed Market Report September 30th 2013

Hello Everyone,

Time for another New season. Buyer's are ready...seller's are ready and all we need is Sesame seed.

I am sure by now everyone has the reports from India , the enthu cutlets , Eager beaver's or plain simple aggressive players as we say must have been feeding everyone with day to day updates. Monsoon came in early , but like we said in the last reports the rains were far too much for a good sesame crop.

Ofcourse there are areas still which look really promising but overall numbers we believe should not be more than last year. The late rains in Gujarat and Rajasthan have further messed up the sentiments and only when the actual new crop comes in the market and the volumes will start to emerge will things cool down or flare up further if the numbers do not show in terms of arrival.

I'll just sum up my views for the current crops and try to look at the path forward this year. As posted in our last report in July we discussed some number's looking at the total exports and decline in volumes in India.

Last year despite a Bad crop we had carry over stocks and at the start of the African crop there was a really good window of buying at attractive levels which helped India sustain its Exports. I doubt that the same situation will be repeated this year.  The gap in Production Vs Exports in the last few years has virtually wiped off all the carry forward stocks this year.We could see a further dip in Exports from India this year.

We predicted in Oct last year that Sesame ( Hulled ) was no longer a sub $2000 commodity and have been bang on with that. So when we talk about prices moving this season we should forget what levels we had earlier , the new low benchmark is now $2000 and the high being about $2700 last year  ,we have a avg mean price of around $2300-2400 so the price volatility this year should be in the range of  +/- 30% from the mean average.

 The $/Rupee will be important to watch as its moving up/down by about 15-20% on a yearly average as well.

The domestic demand in India should also pick up by end of October as the festive reason and winters set in . Stockiest everyone believes will not enter into the market at high levels and that everyone would try to move hand to mouth.  Once again I doubt that , high level is just a number....when prices were @ $1000 the stockiest aimed at $1200 and now that they are $2000 they will aim @ $2200 . So its a phenomenon that everyone in business is already aware of , yes stocking will happen , yes speculation will continue , yes prices will rise and fall and yes people will still be eating Sesame @ $3000 .

Due to high prices the volatility index has gone up tremendously in the past few years , the up/Down's are no more for a few $ here and there...we now see price changing by $50-100 in a matter of few days so its even more difficult to predict the bottoms and highs. My suggestion as always would be not to wait to catch the market at the bottom but to be active in the market all the time and work on averages.

A reliable supplier will probably feed you at all levels and minimize all risks for himself and for you while the speculator will probably make loads of money selling to his buyer at the peak or lose a lot having committed at the bottom. Either case Bad Business I would say. With 2 FCL's now costing almost a $100,000 it needs a careful understanding and long term planning with their trusted suppliers  to sustain in this commodity for long term.

The actual picture should be clear in a few weeks time and by the time Anuga , Germany is over I believe the market will finally have a direction.

                                       We cordially invite you at our Booth no. G-031, Hall No. 11.3 in the India Pavilion.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sesame Seed Market Report July 30th 2013

Hello Everyone,

Time again for the sowing season in India and for bulls/bears to come out with their own adventurous stories.

Sesame Market has been lackluster over the past few months with limited demand and slow international movement. The Ramadan demand did not create any ripples in the market as expected and the very strong $ has kept the prices low in international terms despite stable and high prices in local indian currency.

As we all know India imported huge quantities of sesame seed from Africa this year at the start of the season and that helped sustain the demand of factories here for the full season. The domestic crop  is more or less exhausted and with good 2-3 months to go before the real new crop actually arrives in the market I believe we will most likely finish everything even if things move at snail's pace.

1:- Why are the prices falling :-
      Everyone keeps asking the same question now, why are the prices falling when stocks are low ?

The first reason ofcourse if the USD which has fallen over 10% over the past few months , in commodity terms thats like a discount of USD 200-250 /PMT despite prices being same in domestic terms in India.

The second reason is slow buying from customers , I think with high levels very few take risk and have decided to go back to back on their purchase. Like i said before some people indicate that the consumption has dropped , again I never agreed with that fact. It's probably that people have low inventory rather than anything else . The overall numbers however tell a different story.

Export of Sesame Seed from India

                                    April 2012/March 2013                 April2011/March2012
Total (Qty/Mt)            299,517.50                                      389,153.50                      Less 89,636

Major Deviation country wise :-

Taiwan                         14970.00                                        24467.00                   (- 9497 )
China                             2807.00                                        11389.00                    (- 8582 )
Egypt                             8298.00                                        20402.00                     (-12104)
Turkey                         12610.00                                       16223.00                     (-3613)
UAE                              3730.00                                         6391.00                      (-2661)
Vietnam                       45664.00                                        89088.00                     (-43424)

Total                                                                                                                        Less 79,881

So the numbers actually say that 90% of the shortfall is due to 6 countries alone, barring UAE all the other 5 countries mostly buy Natrual so I am assuming their demand shifted to Africa because prices were low there. So i don't really see a pattern of consumption fall , its merely a shift to the cheapest source of supply which is a normal reaction in today's global scenario.

The third factor is ofcourse profit booking. Since the demand was slow and most exporters unwilling to take undue risk there was profit booking at every stage which kept the prices down. Everytime there was a jump there was someone in the market willing to sell at below market price based on his stock value rather than the prevailing prices which continues to confuse and pull the prices down.

Usually in a bear market i would be worried if its a supply based fall...however when the fall is demand based it usually means there are pockets of opportunity for both seller and buyers and the trends are very hard to predict.

Back to the Present :-

So what is actually happening with the new crop now. The views ofcourse differ from person to person. The monsoon has been early this year , but it has also been very strong. The sowing usually starts after we have the first few rain showers and the soil is well irrigated .

Talking to the local's the sowing has started in area's where they got a chance and is good in terms of size so far , some area's ofcourse are still waiting for the rains to stop. I am usually not flattered by the sowing number's because atleast for sesame seed they are irrelevant unless we have the perfect climate during harvest. A few days of rains during harvest can change the number game drastically as we have seen in the past.

Pls find below the rainfall chart for June-July and you will notice that the rains have been far far excess in all major sesame growing area's except for Rajasthan. However its still too early to say if that's good or bad. My gut feeling however say's that since sesame is so sensitive to water and with a good monsoon now confirmed the farmer's would be taking a lot of risk placing their bet's on sesame.

Ofcourse the traditional sesame farmer would continue to do it , but for new acreage to be added its a risk you have to keep in mind.

US$ will continue to remain volatile it seems and its movement can decide what levels we will see in the coming future. Overall I believe with low global stocks another failure or bumper crop in the coming season in India , China or Africa and turn the tide's either ways.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sesame Seed Markets After Korean Tender April 29th 2013

Hello Everyone,

It's been a quite 2 months in sesame seed markets , with prices staying mostly stable.
Korean tender was announced on the 26thApril and India got 4800MT while Africa took 1200MT. Interesting to note that for the Machine clean Premium Quality the whole quantity went to India.

 The question on everyone's mind now is that despite the Korean Tender going India's way why are the prices not rising , Infact they are falling a bit. I wouldn't say dropping because 4-5% change in prices on a week to week basis is very normal movement in commodities now.

My own observation in the recent times has been that just before the Korean Tender prices stay firm or rise in anticipation of something big but after the Tender is announced they tend to slip a bit. In some cases if India does not get the desired quantities its pretty obvious that prices will drop , however in cases where we do get a big chunk , like this time, prices still don't shoot up ,WHY?

Well I think its mostly because the shipper's get busy preparing the cargo for exports and stop or delay fresh buying unless they were short , which in this tender was not the case. Everyone had stocks and were clearing their cargo rather than speculating. However once you get everything packed , checked and cleared its pretty normal and obvious that they will come back for some more shopping.

With almost 5000 MT of Inventory cleared up from the market I would assume these players would surely come back to cover atleast 50% of this next month when the gujrat summer crop starts.


In my March report we had estimated Gujrat Summer crop to be around 30-40,000 Mt , but fresh estimates and reports put this number between 15-20,000 MT.

The stocks in india have gone down drastically. In case of Hulling industry I think only a few have raw material in excess of 300-400 Mt or just about a months Raw material. However there are still some stocks in Gujrat of the Imported cargo which is on offer to the highest bidders anytime. New Imports have practically stopped due to high prices in Africa.

As expected Africa would continue to wait till the Ramadan demand in June-July before any panic selling starts there and by that time it would have been too late for India to import anything owing to the
long transit times ( 45 days to 2 months)  and previous issues with quality and delivery from Africa.

Im my opinion we should almost exhaust all stocks and raw material by end of Aug-September even if the demand remains really slow and exports fall dramatically.


Just as we mentioned in our last report , there have been jumps and then correction's thereafter in the past few month. All this of course have been because of profit bookings by almost every exporter.

I think this trend will continue in the months to follow till next new crop in September-October however what can change is that most of the people will exhaust their stocks pretty soon and close down. At this moment as well i assume almost 50% of the hulling factories have already taken a shut down and more will follow suit if the situation continues.

If the prices continue to remain high till season end and the next new crop is delayed or is bad we expect prices to stay firm for the next season as well. With complicated import rules and with a lot of financing involved the Import of Sesame seed is only limited to a few people in India and is not lucrative until unless the price gap is big enough. Importing for re-export also means a lot of speculation in terms of Quality , Delivery period and Price fluctuation which is never the basis of a good business model.


Overall i believe that there are some good bargains in the market available at the moment for people who wish to empty their stocks and move out however looking at the long terms picture from May till September period I do not see any big fall or corrections in the prices at the moment unless of course Africa comes out aggressively and drops its prices and some hidden stocks suddenly appear in the Indian market.

For Hulled and Sortex Clean Natural India still remains the preferential and logical destination and Africa will still have to work hard to catch with the Infrastructure and Technology available here.

Unlike in 2007 or like in other commodities prices of Sesame have remained Range bound over the past few months which is a good thing as the importers and their customers now have gotten used to the current price levels. For Hulled sesame the price of $2700 does not look unrealistic anymore and if the prices are corrected by a  few hundred $'s for a short time it would seems attractive enough for a lot of customers to cover their needs.

I would have been worried if the prices had shot up above the $3000 levels , where the pull back would have been very sharp and chances of loosing a lot of money were high. Overall I think its important to keep a watch on the markets for May-June period and cash in on any bargains for short term and it would be important for the importers to plan their demand-supply till End October because I doubt the new crop will be available in their warehouse anytime before that.

I never hesitate to tell a man that I am bullish or bearish. But I do not tell people to buy or sell any particular stock. In a bear market all stocks go down and in a bull market they go up.

Happy Summers Everyone :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Gujrat Summer Crop

The latest rumors in the market about Summer crop are all varied. With estimates as low as 10,000 to optimistic levels of 20-25,000 MT.

However looking at the water/rainfall situation it looks that in most certainty it will be a very bad crop and with stocks in India at all time low and with no chance of big shopping from Africa anymore i wonder how India will continue its supply for the next 5 months before the next new crop in Sept-October.

Attached a Rainfall data for Gujrat for the last 1 Month. As you will see there is absolutely zero rainfall in all the districts and I wonder how farmers will make the sowing in such dry weather with irrigation facilities also failing.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Market Report 12th March 2013

Hello Everyone. 

I hope everyone enjoyed the roller coaster ride on the Sesame Street in the past 6 months. Happy to see that most of the predictions in my last report of October have turned out true.


1:- Everyone expected the number's of 270,000 -280,000 MT to hold true but i think its pretty much   clear that India by no means had more than 220,000-230,000 MT at most. 

Everyone waited for the Diwali Holidays ( In my last report I did mention that things could change dramatically after Diwali ) to get over and the supply to pick up but in reality it never did and everyone was caught on the wrong foot , including a lot of Indian Exporters. The supply in the markets is still not picking up despite record high prices in Indian rupee terms which can safely be interpreted as " India had a bad crop ".

2:- Globally , It is no secret that china had a small crop as well. Africa was billed to be the saviour for everyone but it turns out they too played the bluff game like India in the past :) The crops in all African origins were just about the same as pervious years and in some areas even lesser so that means the global shortfall created by Indian and Chinese bad crops cannot be fulfilled this year.


With such a dynamic broker force in place India has that edge over any other country in getting the latest report just in time before everyone else does. After people realized that India crop was not going to be enough they turned their attention to Africa. India's bought left, right and centre from all African Origins i.e Sudan , Ethiopia , Nigeria , Burkina etc and covered all their open positions. With a substantial price advantage this year a record Import of Sesame Seed happened. If the markets are to be believed India imported about 40,000-50,000 Mt , I would put the number at a 25,000-30,000 Mt mainly because their was a substantial default from African suppliers when the prices suddenly shot up and secondly because yes , Indian's did buy a lot in Africa but not all headed to India, a good chunk was exported as 3rd country trade to China, Vietnam,  Turkey etc.

This 25-30,000 MT gave India some breathing space as it covered almost 2 months demand of the hulling factories but since Imported cargo doesn't come with a credit line the money supply slowly but surely dried up. With long transit times ranging from a month to 2 months the everyday local buying slowed down considerably.

African markets slowly caught up with Indian levels, I mean how can you expect them to keep selling cheap , it had to happen sooner or later. The Indian's stopped buying , Chinese went on their new year leave , Turkey was not very active either but still the prices in Africa remained firm and everyone wondered why. I think the obvious answer would be they got carried away and sold too much too quickly and now they dont have a lot of stocks to sell either. We should not forget their next crop comes out in Nov-Dec so thats a good 8 months away.

Ofcourse the big players in Africa have some stocks or atleast they know who has it but i doubt they will panic to sell out anytime soon enough , not until they see the Ramadan demand first which BTW falls early in August this year so the peak demand will be in June/July.

Just for the Numbers official figures as follow
 Indian Exports for April to September

                                       2010-11              2011-12            2012-13

April-Sept Export            207,854               180,485                 ---

Assuming the Indian Exports would fall by say 30-40% because a lot of clients tell me , ahhh demand is slow , people not using sesame anymore , high prices means low demand etc etc , we would still need about 110-120,000 MT
Oct-March numbers , for 6 months taking average monthly export to just 25,000 Mt/month , we have already exported , produced and sold about 150,000 MT . Domestically India must have consumed about 15-20,000 MT in the winter months. That is about 170,000 MT .

 We started the season with 
1:- Carry over stocks of not more than 10,000 Mt 
2:- A crop of about 220,000 Mt
3:- Imports of about 30,000 Mt
In Total About 260,000 Mt with an error margin of not more than 10% either side.

That leaves us all with about 90,000-100,000 MT plus the Gujrat Summer crop which is estimated at about 30,000-40,000 Mt , just enough to get through the April-Sept season. 


In the past few months we have noticed that the markets in India have been range bound. Their have been a few big jumps but their was a correction soon after. The main reason i believe for this is the profit booking that happened at every high level. The Import cargo have been coming in slowly and in Dec some people booked orders based on their imported cargo prices and not the levels at which Indian markets were trading. 

Then their was the first korean Tender of the season in October , as expected India got all and everyone was bullish. The 2nd Tender came and like i mentioned in my last reports the Africans came out aggressively and Bid a huge share , that suddenly stopped the markets and it has been hovering in the 100-200$ up-down range since then, till the 3rd Tender was announced recently. India got 4200 Mt and Africa 1800 MT . However the 1800 Mt will also be shipped from India so technically all 6000 Mt will move out of India. This however was a profit booking tender as 31st March is Financial Year Ending in India and everyone would love to have good numbers in the balance sheet. The money is clearly short at the moment due to March Year closing but the 6000 Mt export should bring in some liquidity.

In my opinion most of the Imports into India will finish this month so profit booking is almost over. Prices in Africa remain at par with India, new imports will be almost negligible. A lot of profit booking has already been done by the stockiest and i doubt they are afraid anymore of a price fall. With money shortage the stock sizes have reduced drastically which means the cargo is now spread into 100's of small farmers, traders etc making it that much more difficult to bargain.

My opinion is that if the buyer's are still short which I think they are , and if the demand remains slow and steady their is little reason for the markets to fall. Ofcourse the reasons for price rise look more promising as Ramadan demand is totally open , China is still not fully covered , Japan I am sure is the same .Korea will continue its buying irrespective of the price levels and if the Summer crop fails I cant even imagine what will happen.


I am still bullish.  The prices have increased by about 25-30% from the season's low  in October which is nothing really that dramatic looking at the global situation. A lot of people tell me demand will shrink , somehow I never believed that demand shrinks , it just moves from one place/person to another. Its unbelievable the growth story in Middle east , just like in china the sesame oil demand suddenly picked up I am sure the same will happen with the middle east in terms of Tahina/Halva/Hummus/Bakery consumption and demand in years to come. 

If the demand/consumption does really shrink , I am sure the supply will not increase either , so  sesame business should get more & more concentrated in the coming years with lots and lots of money involved and added risk of volatility. 

When someone says sesame is not attractive to them anymore please don't forget that their is always someone ready to take your place , The only way to win is by staying in the game , it will be a tough game ahead but as they say " No Pain , No Gain" .