TRADING activities in the local wholesale commodity markets lacked any buying euphoria owing to thin demand of goods from retailers.
Traders said there was excess import of pulses during May 2012 while supply of sugar had increased due to improved local production leading to decrease in their prices.
Only prices of edible oil and ghee showed rising trend due to increase in the rate of crude palm oil. Prices of other commodities like wheat, rice etc., remained pegged to last week’s level.
Traders said political uncertainty gripped the business community after the disqualification of Prime Minister Gilani as many traders might have put their future trading plans on hold.
Besides, the traders kept their future trading plans in commodities intact till Friday when Raja Pervez Ashraf took oath as new Prime Minister. The next week would show how the wholesale markets had responded to the change.
On the other hand, retailers said that owing to short demand of edible items from consumers they did not make extra purchases from the wholesale market. However, they might initiate some pre-buying activities from next week to meet the Ramazan demand, which is less than a month away.
Coming to the wholesale market, pulses’ rate dropped slightly per kg. Chairman Karachi Wholesale Grocers Association Anis Majeed said lower transportation charges after cut in diesel prices was one of the factors in decline of prices.
Traders imported around 81,313 tons of pulses worth $57 million in May 2012 as compared to 54,383 tons worth $38 million in April 2012. The import in May 2011 was 35,799 tons ($26 million). The increase in imports in May was to meet the demand of pulses especially gram pulse during Ramazan.
Total import of pulses in July-May 2011-12 stood at 583,616 tons worth $378 million as compared to 587,816 tons costing $371 million in the same period last fiscal year.
Sugar production in July-April 2011-12 surged to 4615,723 tons as compared to 4,089,621 tons in the same period of last fiscal year which kept market supplies steady. However, its export was very slow.
Meanwhile, tea blenders and wholesalers had dropped prices of tea by Rs50-60 per kg after reduction in general sales tax to five from 16 per cent in the federal budget.
Chairman Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association Abdul Majeed Haji Muhammad said the rate of crude palm oil used for making ghee and cooking oil had increased by at least $25 per ton (C&F) last week. The prices of Palm Olein and RBD Palm Olein surged to $995 and $990 per ton from $975 and $970 per ton. Local rates of Palm Olien rose to Rs4,825 from Rs4,750 per maund while RBD palm oil rate climbed to Rs4,775 from Rs4,600 per maund.
He said there was no substantial rise in local sales of oil and ghee owing to thin demand. However, the government’s figures of July-April 2011-12 showed that vegetable ghee production grew to 926,392 tons from 905,984 tons in the same period of last fiscal year. Cooking oil production stood at 256,431 tons as compared to 256,657 tons.
Importers/packers of ghee and cooking oil had expedited their efforts ahead of Ramazan by importing 209,837 tons of palm oil ($240 million) in May 2012 as compared to 156,283 tons ($173 million) in April 2012 while import in May 2011 was 195,627 tons ($238 million). Total imports of palm oil in July-May 2011-12 rose to 1,897,695 tons ($2.1 billion) as compared to 1,801,369 tons ($1.83 billion) in the corresponding period of last financial year.
A flour miller said smooth supply from interior Sindh and Punjab kept wheat bag rate unchanged. Besides, flour demand during summer season did not show any increase. He said flour price might remain unchanged till Ramazan and the provincial governments would announce some discount on flour rate during the holy month.—Aamir Shafaat Khan