Corn prices in Punjab have experienced a dip, falling back to Rs. 1,800 per maund after a recent buying rally that saw prices soaring to as high as Rs. 2,250 per maund.
Throughout October, local market prices remained stagnant, reaching the lowest point in two years due to ample production, low demand, and collapsing international prices.
Presently, the average corn prices in Kasur, Gujranwala, and Sahiwal hover around Rs. 1,900 per maund. In Bahawalpur, Multan, Jhang, and Faisalabad, prices range from Rs. 1,900 to Rs. 1,950 per maund. However, any hopes of market recovery were dashed with an extensive crackdown on the smuggling of agricultural commodities to Afghanistan.
It’s worth noting that corn prices in Afghanistan are currently much higher, standing at Rs. 4,000-5,000 per maund compared to Pakistan and the international market.
Although smuggling-related actions were temporarily eased last month, leading traders to anticipate a boost in prices through informal trade, the government strengthened measures with the onset of the sugar season to prevent any illicit activities.
“Border restrictions were eased down during last month to an extent where say if there were ten check posts on a route, it was dialed back to three to four and traders started buying, expecting more easing,” stated a market consultant while talking to ProPakistani
But he added that after the start of the crushing season, the government has heightened the border scrutiny again to prevent sugar smuggling and as long as sugar is under the claw, corn prices are also not expected to recover. It’s noteworthy that sugar prices are also struggling to recover significantly amid the ongoing crushing season.
Traders who suffered losses in the satta market due to a crackdown are hesitant to re-enter the market. Additionally, the government has recently rejected sugar millers’ request to export 250,000 tons of sugar.