ACTIVE trading was witnessed on the Karachi wholesale commodities markets last week as prices of some essential items were quoted higher followed by reports of short supply owing to fall in arrivals from upcountry trading centres.
But prices of major export commodities, mainly rice varieties, were firmly held around previous levels despite reports of pressure on ready supplies as the stocks of old crop had either exhausted or bulk of them exported.
Market sources said arrival of new crop from Sindh was awaited by local dealers but it was believed that prices might slightly go up as the crop was reported to be short owing to irrigation water problems.
The notable feature of the week was sharp rise in wheat prices, which had been under selling pressure since its export was suspended owing to falling prices globally, they said.
Apart from active mill buying, the other factor which caused price flare-up was report of holding back of stocks by dealers in upcountry markets, they said.
The net increase in prices of wheat over the week after weeks of dull trading was of the order of Rs55-100 per bag and dealers said fresh rise might be on the cards.
Among other essentials, pulses, mainly imported one, were also traded higher under the lead of masoor dal and gram whole and dal.
Wheat: Active trading was witnessed in this sector as both the local flour mills and private sector exporters came in for modest covering purchases followed by reports of fresh export demand and covered positions at the decline.
On the other hand sugar was modestly traded and its prices increased at the retail levels despite official assurances that the stock position was comfortable to cope with the increasing demand.
Gur and desi sugar, however, came in for active support and were quoted firm on previous levels followed by reports of short supply.
Pulses: Activity in this sector was normal as the supply position was comfortable thanks to steady imports during the post-budget weeks. Prices were quoted lower for want of demand.
Barring widely used gram whose price was fairly active was quoted further higher. Other types were mostly traded at previous levels followed by reports of fall in their demand from upcountry dealers.
Rice: Stocks of the previous crop were on the lower side as bulk had already been exported. However, astray shipments were being made by exporters who had built-up stocks to meet their export commitments before arrival of the new crop.
Prices of IRRI and basmati varieties came in for active support by brokers and were quoted higher by Rs150 per bag of 100 kg. Rice has been sown in major areas of Sindh and Punjab but report being received was of short crop owing to short supply of water mainly at the tail-end.
Cereals: Among cereals maize led the list of losers and fell by Rs25-50, while bajra and jowar consolidated previous gains.
However, barley came in for active support by some exporters and stayed. Slow arrivals from upcountry markets were another aiding positive factor. The net rise was of the order of Rs50.
Oilseeds: The oilseed sector, on the other hand, showed quietly steady trend as prices of major seeds, including cottonseed and til, were firm and held at previous levels as supply was comfortable.
Castor seed was an exception on reports of higher export demand and was quoted higher by Rs25.
Cotton: After ruling stable early in the week, cotton prices were quoted higher. Later in the week they remained unchanged at Rs6,200 per maund. Arrival of new crop has started in ginneries in a big way but prices of both phutti and lint were said to be on the lower side.
Oilcakes: Prices of cottonseeds were again quoted higher as the new crop arrivals were said to be on the lower side and pressure on supplies caused price flare-up. Rapeseed cakes were held around previous levels.—M.A.