India inactive in Canadian chickpeas ahead of harvest

CNS Canada — The Canadian chickpea market is in a transitionary phase ahead of harvest, one market participant says, as a key player sits out.

“We’re still kind of in that phase where there’s a lot of orders trying to get filled, positions trying to get squared,” said David Newman of Commodious Trading near Victoria.

Prices have been relatively steady, Newman said, but the main driver of the market is India’s absence.

“We’ve been able to sell a little bit of stuff to a few other markets, but I think without India being able to actively participate, everything is kind of left to the wind,” he said.

There are two main reasons why buying from India has slowed as of late. For one, the country has already bought a number of chickpeas. “There’s a huge amount of purchases on the books, that’s for sure,” Newman said.

The potential for a large upcoming crop from India is also pressuring the market, he said. “Last year India was looking at a drought situation, and they bought everything we had. It was gone.”

Kabuli chickpea spot prices across Western Canada range from 20 to 53 cents per pound, depending on size and quality, according to data from Prairie Ag Hotwire.

Western Canada’s chickpea crop is in mostly good condition, after a couple of weeks of uncertainty stemming from excess moisture, Newman added.

Statistics Canada pegs this year’s chickpea production at 106,900 tonnes, compared to last year’s 83,500.

Harvest will start soon in Western Canada. Saskatchewan Agriculture’s Wednesday crop report said about one per cent of the province’s chickpeas have been combined.

— Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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