International markets saw little change for Desi Chickpeas over the past couple of weeks due to some (limited) engagement from our now biggest buyers – Bangladesh and Pakistan.
February 2018 export data released by Pulse Australia showed 50,832mt (metric tonnes) exported from Australia, down 13% from January’s 58,190mt. Of which, 26,304mt exported to Bangladesh, up 38% from January. 13,066mt exported to Pakistan, down 47%. Meanwhile, Desi Chickpeas exported to India in February were Nil. Although expected, it is worth noting that since the recording of export data by Pulse Australia in 2010, India have until now, not yet had nil imports in a month.
Trades to Bangladesh and Pakistan markets have been ticking along fine. However, there are chatters in the market claiming Bangladesh has not been happy with our quality this year, namely the colour of our Chickpeas. Bangladesh importers also have the option of importing from India.
Pakistan importers on the other hand seems to be more optimistic. Their own harvest is at completion and unofficial reports showing their Desi Chickpea production is about the same as last year’s production, or about 300,000mt, which is lower than earlier forecasts. However, it is important to note that there is no official agency to census the actual crop size, or reconcile carry over stock. Trade sentiments in the country is to continue to buy Australian Desi Chickpeas as it is not an option to import from India presently. Although this is the case, importers learnt their lessons last year from “over importing”. Many traders are still recovering and therefore are a lot more cautious on how much they import this year.
Translated back to local values, delivered North NSW/ South QLD packers have been trading from $550 to $600 per metric tonne. New crop buying interests around $500 per metric tonne. Aussie dollar softening against the USD could see some support in local prices in the short term if it continues.