NEW DELHI: Shipment of rajma from China has resumed after an initial supply disruption, but prices are likely to remain high, traders said.

Almost 50% of the rajma consumed in India comes from China. Traders of branded pulses said they will watch the market for the next few weeks before increasing prices by Rs 7-9 a kg in retail packs. Rajma sold in 1 kg packs is available for Rs 120-180, depending on quality.

On Friday, the wholesale price of rajma was Rs 82/kg in Mumbai and Rs 85/kg in Delhi.

“Rajma prices will remain bullish in the coming months due to delay in shipments from China and a strong dollar,” said Udit Jain, director of Rajdhani group.

Traders said they were slow in signing future contracts and that prices in China have increased due to low supplies and firm dollar.

“We expect very few containers to arrive from China in April, as prices there have increased by $70 to $80 per tonne at $1,135 per tonne,” said Shankar Jindal, owner of Fakir Chand Vinod Kumar and Company at Naya Bazar in New Delhi.

Over 90 24-tonne containers lying at Chinese ports for February delivery are expected to arrive at Indian ports soon, Rajma importer Pradeep Kumar Runwal of Bherulal Radheshyam Bhandari said, adding that the Indian market needs 250-300 containers every month.

“Ocean freight has increased and it is not viable to import at the current prices. Hence, no major contracts are being signed with Chinese companies. The prices can move from 82 a kg to Rs 88 a kg in Mumbai’s wholesale market,” said Runwal.

Consumers could get a respite in the long term when the new crop is harvested in June-August in Brazil, South Africa, Maharashtra and Karnataka, followed by China in September, said traders.

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