U.S. buyers refuse to take Kollam cashew

Cashew worth Rs.2 crores auctioned at New York port

Ignatius Pereira

KOLLAM: Four containers of processed cashew from Kollam shipped through the Kochi port were auctioned by the U.S. Government authorities recently after it had remained unclaimed at the New York port well beyond the stipulated period of 12 days. Sources told The Hindu that the money from the auction went to the U.S. exchequer. The four containers contained 60 tonnes of cashew kernels worth Rs.2 crores.

The auctions were conducted at the New York port on June 17 and June 30. Since the consignment was sold through traders in Europe, the exporters here did not suffer much loss. They were, in fact, able to retrieve a major portion of the price from the European traders.

The exact reason for the containers remaining unclaimed remains a mystery though the grapevine in the cashew sector points to two reasons. Two years ago, cashew kernel prices made a sudden surge from $1.75 a pound to $2.55 a pound. A section of the sellers then failed to honour their export commitments to the U.S. . This had put the U.S. buyers in a difficult situation when the demand for kernels was good. The buyers were then forced to cave in to the tactics adopted by the sellers here.

But now the prices have started falling to touch a low of $2.30 a pound . Though deals were reached earlier, the U.S. buyers want the consignment at prevailing market rates. If not, they are not interested in claiming it. Also, there are reports that when the prices began falling a section of the sellers here had mixed the consignment with scorched whole 320 grades and broken grades with the whole 320 export grade. Since this was detected, the buyers reportedly avoided claiming the consignment. There were again rumours of an over-infestation of the consignment.

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