Gum market in Sudan
The rain season is now well settled in Sudan. The gum market is now quiet at the village level although few amounts of gum are still available in local traders’ stores. Some sales might be expected in the coming days in order to cash in for the Eid al-Fitr. Regarding the available gum stocks in Sudan, it seems that hashab stocks are rather limited while storage facilities are full of talh gum.
Small amounts of hashab and talha gum have been traded at the El Obeid auction market during the last week of May (4 MT of hashab and 10 MT of talha in the last fortnight of May). Hashab gumprices ranged between 1,100 and 1,300 SDG/gintar and talah gum prices were 270 SDG/gintar. No gum exchanges has been observed outside the auction market during this period.
Meanwhile, the gum market has been busier in En Nuhood where 553 MT of hashab gum have been sold in the two last weeks of May at prices ranging between 1,250 and 1,270 USD/MT, amongst the highest prices of this campaign. These important amounts of hashab gum exchanged attest the fact that En Nuhood has became the main gum-trading place in North Kordofan.
In Oum Rowaba, small exchanges of hashab gum have also been noticed during the last week of May. 0,4 MT of hashab gum have been sold at 1,200 SDG/gintar.No transactions on talha gum have been recorded. The Oum Rowaba auction market has been scarcely supplied in gum this year (702 MT of hashab gum in total for the whole campaign) as the local traders bypassed it andsold theirgum to others markets, including those of El Obeid.
FOB quotations remained stable during the last month: from 2,540 to 2,550 USD/MT for hashab gum and 750 USD/MT for the talha gum.
Gum market retrospectives
International supply and demand. Gum exports from producing countries overtook 110,000 MT in 2016. Sudan remains the main actor of this export growth with 2/3 of the total exports from African countries (74,500 MT in 2016) but we can also notice that new African countries, Mali and Senegal, have started to emerge in the gum trading business. They together exported 9,300 MTin 2016 (more than Nigeria the same year) while gum exports from these countries combined were below 2,000 MT before 2014. India’s gum demand is an important factor of this growth. India became the world first gum importer before France, with 30% of the total world gum imports in 2016.
2016-2017 campaign.The good 2016 rainy season and an early end of the rainfalls were signs for a good first gum harvest in Sudan.The hashab gum supply from the first harvest has indeed been very important and largely higher than the first harvest of the previous campaign. In El Obeid, around 5,300 MT of hashab gum were traded from November to March during the 2016-2017 campaign when only 765 MT were exchanged during the same period in 2015-2016.
This large supply has maintained low hashab prices, especially at the international level where FOB quotations for the hashab have been 600 to 800 USD/MT lower than the previous campaign. However this bullish trend inverted with the second harvest, which has been rather low due to mild weather conditions. Prospects of lower hashab supply, but also a favourable political context with the potential US sanctions lift, have pushed hashab auction market prices up while hashab FOB quotations also improved to end around 2,550 USD/MT (still lower than the 2,800 USD/MT in June 2016).
Regarding the talha gum market, the previous season carryover was important and the talha production from the first.
harvest, like the hashab, was expected large. From January to June 2017, 5,550 MT of talha gum have been traded in El Obeid, only 1,000 MT less than the previous campaign. These conditions strengthened international buyers’ bargaining power and maintained talha prices at a low level during the whole campaign. Talha FOB quotations evolved around 700 USD/MT during most of the campaign, with a slight increase on the last months of the campaign due to scarcer talha gum supply. This talha price increase has also been noticeable at the auction market level but prices remained well above the prices of the previous season.
While the available international trade statistics indicate that Sudan’s gum arabic exports during the first quarter of this year have been lower than in 2016 (17,000 MT in 2016 and 12,400 MT in 2017), it is fair to expect that the Sudanese gum exports from the 2016-2017 season will greatly exceed exports of the past campaigns.