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Aluminium prices saw a revival during June-August 2009 due to supply concerns of Japanese primary aluminium buyers in the March 2009 quarter. Also, following an accident at Russia’s largest hydroelectric power station in Siberia, RUSAL, the world’s largest aluminium producer, has announced production cuts of about 500,000 tonnes. Between mid-May and 2 September 2009, aluminium prices surged by almost 33% on the London Metal Exchange (LME). However, the record LME inventories of 4.4 million tonnes remain a drag on the metal prices. Moreover, China’s aluminium imports in July 2009 were down almost 51%.
In the domestic market, raw jute prices crashed 40% to reach around Rs18,000 a tonne in August 2009 from the all-time high of Rs30,200 a tonne in July 2009, on concerns of a possible 25% dilution in Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPMA) of 1987. Sugar industry made it worse for the raw jute price, as they refrained from procuring jute bags despite the arrival of the new jute crop from 1 July 2009.
Natural rubber price is likely to rise further from its current level of Rs102 per kg for RSS-4 grade, on declining domestic production and robust demand from China. During April-July, production has dropped to 209,825 tonnes from 242,115 tonnes in the same period last year.
The government has decided to reduce the minimum export price for basmati rice to $800 per tonne from $1,100 per tonne. This is likely to help exports of this premium variety of rice at a lower price. This would increase the availability of other common varieties of rice in the domestic market allaying concerns of supply shortage due to poor paddy cultivation.
High price of gold has forced consumers to refrain from fresh orders leading to a 38% slump in India’s gold demand in the June 2009 quarter. Global jewellery demand in that quarter has slipped 22% to 404.1 tonnes taking the overall consumption to 569.7 tonnes, 14% lower than in the June 2008 quarter. In the 12 months till June 2009, bank deposits grew 22% year-on-year which suggests that consumers have preferred to stay invested in cash because of the global economic downturn and volatility in gold price.