Agriculture Policy Briefing

Futures Trading in Chana has been Suspended; But it has not Dented Prices

The suspension of futures trading in chickpea or chana caused a temporary dip in prices but they have since recovered to levels prevailing before 27 July, when the announcement was made, according to trading data from the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX).

Spot chickpea prices rose steadily from Rs 4,795 a quintal on 16 January to Rs 8,509 on 16 July. On the day futures trading in the commodity was suspended, they ruled at Rs 8,200 a quintal. They fell thereafter. On 16 August, for instance, the price was Rs 7,592 a quintal. Prices have shot up since then. On 28 September it was Rs 9,732 a quintal and on 7 November chickpea from Madhya Pradesh was trading at Rs 10,800 a quintal in Delhi.

The blip in the upward graph may have been caused by the expectation of higher imports from Australia, sources in NCDEX say. Festive demand, the interruption of milling activity in chana-growing areas because of sudden downpours and damage by rain to the Australian crop have boosted prices.

Prices of other pulses have declined on expectations of a good harvest in them. According to the agriculture ministry’s first advance estimates, this year’s kharif production of pulses is expected to be a record 8.70 million tonnes with bumper production of both pigeonpea (tur) expected at 4.70 million tonnes and of black gram or urad at 2.01 million tonnes.

Prices of these pulses reflect the change. The price of pigeonpea in Akola has declined from Rs 9,041 a quintal on 16 January to Rs 6,891 on 16 September. That of black gram in Jalgaon was Rs 10,561 a quintal and Rs 7,484 on those respective dates. Prices of moong at Jodhpur have fallen from Rs 6,908 to Rs 4,888 during this time.

Speculation might cause prices to overshoot, but to blame it for rising prices might not be correct. Demand surges and supply shortfalls have a direct impact.

(Top photo courtesy Wikicommons)

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