An article from the on-line Hindu Business Line suggests that despite a drop in Indian pulse production two years in a row, imports into the country have slowed since their April 1 crop year began. Imports from April through to September was reported as being 1.2 million metric tonnes, as compared to 1.47 mmt in the same period in 2011 and 1.3 mmt in 2010. It was interesting to note that imports of pigeon peas (tar) and lentils (masur) have largely been replaced by yellow peas.
Yellow peas made up 60% of India's imported pulses in 2011/12. The article suggests there is no natural demand for yellow peas, although they are used as a replacement or mixed with other pulses. The attractiveness of yellow peas rests with the fact that it is currently viewed as the cheapest pulse in the world, with prices to Indian importers in the $425 to $450/mt level, while other pulses can be priced greater than $650/mt.
Indian demand for pulses is suggested to be curtailed at current price levels for a number of reasons. First of all, the devaluation of the local currency, the Rupee, has increased the cost of all imports. As well, speculation linked to rising global grain markets is also blamed for pushing up pulse prices.
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While their market looks forward to the harvest of their next crop, the Rabi or winter crop, recent reports from IIFL or India Info Online suggest that seeding progress remains delayed. As of Nov 10, total planting progress for all crops was 6.84% behind last year's pace, while pulse plantings were 30% behind last year. In total, 8.1 million acres of pulses have been seeded as compared to the 11.4 ma seeded at the same time last year.
The price competitiveness of yellow peas as compared to other pulses in global markets has yet to show up in the Western-Canadian marketplace. Year-to-date exports of peas as of week 14 totals 634,700 mt, which is 13.4% behind last year and 6.2% behind the three-year average. Central Saskatchewan yellow pea bids have increased 7.6% since the start of the 2012/13 crop year and are close to reaching the August highs of $8.83/bu, currently sitting at $8.74.
The Australian online news service The Land published an article titled Outlook a Mixed Bag for Pulses. In their interview with a Cargill representative, suggestions were made that while both fababeans and chickpeas are showing promise in this marketing year, both lentils and peas are "unlikely to break records".
Seeding delays for pulses in India are worth watching, as there is a great deal riding on the crop. Also of interest will be data from the ongoing Australian harvest.
Cliff can be reached at email@example.com
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