Physical activity on the Karachi wholesale markets last week remained relatively slow as buyers and sellers did not go above immediate needs owing to approaching Eid holidays.

There was no immediate positive impact on wheat prices after the government allowed export of half a million tonnes of the commodity owing to slack pre-Eid holiday trading, brokers said. But prices may rise after shipments are made before the arrival of the new crop.

But there was no pressure on the supply of some of the essential items, notably wheat flour, sugar and most of pulses barring gram as the government has made arrangements for supply of these items through official outlets at subsidised rates of Rs10.00 to 12.00 below the ruling market prices, brokers said.

The other inhibiting factor was said to be higher prices being quoted by commercial dealers and brokerage houses for some of the essential items followed by reports of pressure on local supplies.

Floor brokers said arrivals of both essential items and raw materials from the upcountry markets were on the lower side because of higher freight rates being demanded by the cargo haulers as most of them remained busy in transporting sacrificial animals from upcountry markets to the city.

The wholesalers and upcountry dealers virtually suspended fresh consignments from the interior as it was not possible to sell essential items to the general consumers at a competitive rate after having paid higher freight rates, they said.

The normal trading activity is expected to be in place a week later after the Eid holidays. And meanwhile, prices could rise from the current levels because of pressure on ready supplies.

Much of the activity remained confined to some of the essential items, notably gram whole and gram dal as both are extensively used for Eid dishes, dealers said adding but price increase was within the buying limits of general consumers.

But news from the sugar sector was not that encouraging followed by reports some problems on the normal supplies of sugarcane to some of the mills on officially fixed prices. Some of the major growers are said to be asking higher prices of around Rs80.00 per 40 kg and are holding back supplies.

On the export front, physical shipments against the forward deals were maintained on the higher side as a rice loader remained in the port loading the commodity. Prices of both the IRRI and fine varieties did not show any major changes and were mostly held at the previous levels.

After mid-week some type of pluses came in for active support under the lead of gram whole and gram dal, which were quoted higher by Rs50.00 to 175.00. Beetle imported type followed them and was marked up by Rs100.00 per bag.

Urad and moong imported varieties were also quoted higher by Rs20.00 to 50.00 per bag as importers kept to the sidelines and held back their stocks rather than release them for pre-Eid holiday trading.

Other varieties of pulses including masoor and tuver were modestly traded but as there was no pressure on ready supplies prices remained unchanged from the previous levels. On the sugar front, cut in ex-factory prices of the commodity to Rs29.34 per kilo is expected to lower prices during the post-Eid holiday trading sessions, dealers said adding but there was no immediate negative impact on the local prices.

After early modest decline, wheat prices managed to finish unchanged followed by reports that the half million tonnes of the commodity has been allowed for export.

Phhysical shipments of rice against forward deals were maintained on the higher as over the week two rice loaders called on the Karachi port and sailed out after loading rice.

But owing to steady new crop arrivals from Sindh markets, prices of IRRI-6 and sela type of fine basmati were marked down on local selling. Both were quoted lower by Rs20.00 and 50.00 respectively.

Oilseed sector lacked normal trading interest owing to comfortable ready position. As a result, major seeds including cottonseed, rapeseed and castor seed were quoted unchanged at the previous levels.

Till was and exception, which posted a rise of Rs100.00 on revival of export demand and slow arrivals of new crop from the Sindh markets.

Oilcakes,both rapessed and cottonseed cakes were firmly held at the previous levels as supplies matched the local crushers’ demand.—M.A.

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