Copper prices have been under pressure and fallen steadily in 2014 because of lower demand from China following an economic slowdown. Other factors, such as the Ukrainian crisis and mixed US economic data, have also influenced prices. Copper demand and prices have been a strong predictor of economic growth in the past and it remains to be seen whether this time, too, weak copper prices indicate a weaker global economy. Copper price, on the MCX, declined by 16%, to Rs397.10/kg on 26 March 2014, from Rs473.60/kg at the beginning of the year.
Precious metals were trading lower after the US Fed remained committed to reducing its stimulus programme, leading to expectations that US interest rates would rise sooner than anticipated. The strengthening of the rupee also played a major role in sending gold and silver prices lower. MCX Gold April futures fell for eight consecutive trading sessions, to Rs28,571/10gm on 26 March 2014 from Rs30,595/10gm on 14 March 2014, a total decline of nearly 7%.
Jeera prices declined sharply over the past few weeks on account of record high output expectations. The area under production in Gujarat was reported at 455,000 hectares (ha) as against 335,200ha last year. Production of jeera in 2013-14 is expected around 0.45 million bags (55kg each), higher than 0.40 million bags last year. April future prices of jeera on the NCDEX fell by 12.54% month-on-month, to Rs10,095/quintal on
26 March 2014.
Sugar prices have been rising, thanks to higher demand. Expectations of lower production have also supported prices as the Indian Sugar Mills Association lowered its output estimates. Sugar production, till 15th March in the current season, was 19.38 million tonnes, down by 8%, against 21.1 million tonnes during the same period a year ago. Prices on the NCDEX jumped by 11% month-on-month to Rs3,076/quintal on 26 March 2014.