Sugarcane, Wheat and Rice

• India will receive 93% of the normal rainfall this year. This is lower than the previous forecast of 96% by the India Meteorological Department.  

• The Central Government has increased the minimum support price of sugarcane by Rs26 per quintal to Rs107.76 per quintal for the current season from Rs81.18 per quintal last year. India’s sugar output is estimated to fall to 14.8 million tonnes in 2008-09 lower than the 26.5 million tonnes a year ago.  

• US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that the availability of wheat in the global market will be limited in 2009-10, although the global wheat stock is projected to be higher. Worldwide, 182 million tonnes of wheat are held in stock – 8.3% higher than the previous year’s stock. But non-availability of this stock in the world market will create a shortage of wheat.

• India’s basmati rice export is expected to cross two million metric tonnes in the current marketing year, ending September 30. Riding on the huge demand from Iran and the inclusion of PUSA-1121 in the premium basmati rice category, exports have surged.

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Gold

By all accounts, the price of gold should have gone up by now. All governments around the world have pumped in trillions of dollars to stabilise their economies which everybody suspects would lead to inflation and higher prices for gold. Besides, geopolitical factors are not all that favourable around the world from Iran to Pakistan to North Korea.  
But, contrary to an expected sharp rally in gold prices, the yellow metal has actually dropped 2% since February 2009 and is currently trading around $940. Everybody is hoping that it would touch $1,000. But will gold go down before that fooling everybody? If it breaks $900, gold can go all the way down to $800 in the short term. Gold has a history of being extremely volatile.
Why is gold not going up, despite and array of top investors forecasting that it would? This is simply because gold is seen as a hedge against inflation but there is no sign of inflation anywhere. The world’s largest economies are in a deflationary environment. Consumer price index (CPI) has dropped 1.3% in the last year through May – the largest fall in the past 59 years. Therefore, the $1,000 mark will remain insurmountable for a while.

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Iron Ore, NCDEX and FMC

• Iron ore prices touched a four-month high in June following higher demand from China even though a final decision on long-term contract prices remained unresolved between Australian suppliers and Chinese buyers. 

• The National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) may divest a part of its equity in the NCDEX Spot Exchange (NSPOT), its wholly- owned subsidiary. NSPOT facilitates trade in sugar, pepper, chana, gold and silver and proposes to launch guar seed, bajra, safflower, sunflower seed and oil in the near future. The divestment is intended to raise funds to finance the mandi modernisation project (MMP) of NSPOT. 

• The Forward Markets Commission has allowed commodity exchanges to permit traders to take fresh positions till the date of expiry in futures contracts of some internationally-linked commodities. The move is likely to help better price discovery as these contracts are closely linked to global benchmarks and inability to take fresh positions ahead of expiry often leads to brokers missing out on the hedging opportunity.

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