Onion prices zoom to new highs
New Delhi: After racing ahead of the rupee, onion could turn costlier than petrol in the main consuming centres of Delhi and Mumbai.
Onion prices, which have been fuelling headline inflation, touched a new high in the country’s largest market at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra’s main onion growing area on Tuesday.
The modal price shot up to a new high on Tuesday crossing Rs 5,501 per 100 kg, after supplies of the stored commodity dried up ahead of the harvest. The maximum price for top quality onions at Lasalgaon touched a high of Rs 5,813 a quintal as arrivals stood at around 400 tonnes.
“The wholesale prices have been going up by Rs 3-4 per kg every day in the past few days as stocks have almost depleted with stockists and aggregators in the key growing regions of Maharashtra,” trade sources in Delhi said.
Retailers, such as Safal and Reliance Fresh, which add their margin, transportation and handling costs to the wholesale prices, sold onions at over Rs 65/kg. Retail vendors have been selling at prices that could be much higher. Traders said the prices are poised to remain high in the next couple of weeks till supplies ease.
The new crop that’s being harvested in the South, mainly in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, has been hit by the recent rains. “The quality of the new crop that’s coming from the South is hit by the high moisture content as the onion has to travel three-four days to reach the northern markets. The situation looks bleak for the next few weeks as far as supply is concerned,” a trader said.
At Pimpalgaon, another key market in the Nashik region of Maharashtra, the modal prices touched Rs 5,651/quintal, the highest in wholesale markets across the country.
The harvest of the new crop in the Nashik region is expected to commence by mid-October. Though the imported shipments have begun to arrive from China, Egypt and Pakistan, they may not ease the supply situation.
India exported 6.39 lakh tonnes of onion during April-July compared with 6.94 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period last year. Onion production stood at 16.6 million tonnes in 2012-13, which was lower than in the previous year.