Indian Sesame Market – April 2021

We have come a full circle in the last one year with an imminent lockdown identical to the one that we had in April 2020 staring us in the face. Covid does not seem to go away, with or without the vaccine for now at least. We wish for all to stay safe and healthy.

For multiple different reasons from covid to freight issues to pesticide detection in the EU, India has had a fairly tough 6 – 9 months in the export markets. We started the crop year with a huge debate on our crop numbers and while this was being discussed globally, we restricted export of sesame to the EU because of alleged detection of certain pesticides in our sesame. This led other destinations to also question our quality and demand pesticide free certification as well.

It is ironic that 6 months down the line, there is now actually a huge debate between EU and Indian Authorities on the validity and authenticity of the samples that have been drawn mainly by importers and not authorities themselves, in contravention of EU norms or guidelines hence putting almost all the Alerts / rejections subject to challenge and withdrawal. Having resumed exports to EU, we are happy to see that the problem has practically disappeared and we have seen at least 200+ fcl already cleared in the different member states of Europe without any issues in the last 2 months.

For the non EU destinations, while prices remained constant, we continuously faced a challenge of container availability and ever rising freight rates. This not just ate into exporters margins but most sales eventually were loss making as they were on CIF / CFR basis leaving us to bear these costs. Even now, making offers is a challenge as we would like to be competitive but we never know when that becomes a loss making transaction.  

When exports to EU were temporarily suspended from October to January, we saw a lot of local support and prices moved up even as the new season commenced. Funnily enough, when we resumed shipments to the EU, markets actually started correcting and still remain range bound at the lower levels. While we saw soyabeans, peanuts, sunflower and now even rapeseed / mustard shoot up in the last few months, sesame is the only one that actually dropped.

Imports were at about 100,000 tons between April 20 – March 2021 with Sudan taking the largest share. A very large part of this was in the middle of last year, before our new crop was harvested.

The Summer crop planting average in Gujarat for 3 years was at about 31,000 Hectares. Last year we planted about 55,000 hectares and so far we have government data that shows planting at about 91,000 hectares. This leads us to believe that we could have a harvest of 90,000 – 110,000 mt. Having said this, we do not expect a signifciant drop in prices as there will be direct parity for crushing into oil at lower levels.

For West Bengal which produces about 200,000 mt of double skin during June every year, we are hearing of lower planting as well as some dry conditions. This could impact the crop and would help neutralise any excess that Gujarat would produce.

Demand for hulled sesame continues to slow but healthy.

Our current FOB levels are as follows :

Natural Whitish Sesame, 99/1/1 : USD. 1325.00 pmt

Natural Whitish Sesame, 99/1, 99.90 % : USD. 1340.00

Natural Whitish Sesame, Sortex, 99.95 % : 1380.00

Black Sesame, Sortex : USD. 1830.00

Jet Black Sesame : USD. 2100.00

Hulled Sesame, 99.95 % : USD. 1560.00 pmt

Hulled Sesame, 99.97 % : USD. 1580.00 pmt

Hulled Sesame, 99.98 % : USD. 1600.00 pmt

Freight from India to most destinations in the Far East is USD. 45 – 60 per ton, Middle East is about USD. 100 – 125 per ton and Russia, USA, Canada etc is about USD. 200 – 210 per ton for the month of April.

Please send us your firm inquiry enable offer correctly.