Myanmar Consolidated Media

Black gram prices recede after brief spike: traders

By Aye Thidar Kyaw
October 3 - 9, 2011

Beans and pulses for sale at the Bayintnaung Wholesale Commodity Exchange Centre last week.
Pic: Yadanar

A COMBINATION of heavy late monsoon rains and the approach of major estivals in India briefly spurred upward the price of black matpe (black gram) from Myanmar, traders said last week.

However, the looming Indian harvest brought prices back down in late-September.

Heavy rains in key beans and pulses growing regions in India in mid-September have delayed harvests by a month at a time when Indian traders were looking to stockpile ahead of major festivals that fall in October, said one trader.

Dr Myan Lin, the owner of Lin Star trading company, said the increased demand pushed matpe prices up by between US$80 and $100 within a fortnight. On September 22, a tonne of fair-to-average quality (FAQ) matpe was selling for $850, up from about $750 on September 8.

However, he said that recent reports from India that the matpe harvest in mid-October would not be as low as previously thought saw prices return to about $785 (FAQ).

In the previous fiscal year, Myanmar exported about 900,000 tonnes of beans and pulses worth $900 million, mostly to India. However, this was down on the 2009-10 year, when 1.3 million tonnes were exported, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Commerce.

“We suffered some bad weather last year and some of our beans and pulses harvest was exported to China through border trade,” said the secretary of the Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association, U Min Ko Oo.
He said many within the industry were expecting to exceed the total exports recorded last financial year and possibly match those of 2009-10.

He added that an average of about 90,000 tonnes a month was exported during the peak export months of March, April and May. He said that demand was normally weak during September, averaging between 20,000 and 30,000 tonnes but this year between 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes were expected to be shipped because of higher demand in India.