SEBI extends ban on farm commodity derivatives trading for another year. All you need to know
Sky-high prices of agricultural commodities have forced the hand of the market regulator to suspend derivatives trading in them for another year.
With inflation still high, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in a late night order passed yesterday extended the suspension on derivatives trading of paddy (non-basmati), wheat, chana, mustard seeds and its derivatives, soybean and its derivatives, crude palm oil and moong for a period of one more year till December 20, 2023.
How important are these commodities in the scheme of things?
Data showed that before the ban last year, the aforementioned commodities contributed nearly 54 per cent of the total deposits in NCDEX between April 2021 and July 2021
In terms of delivery also, the suspended commodities contributed around 55 per cent of the total deliveries from the exchange platform with chana being the highest at 29 per cent.
Because of the suspension, the quarterly average daily volume of NCDEX has fallen from Rs 2,310 crore in FY22 to Rs 960 crore in FY23, a fall of nearly 58 per cent, the exchange said in a report published a few months back.
What exactly had SEBI done last year?
Last year, the regulator had barred exchanges from launching any new contract on the 7 commodities and with respect to their running contracts it disallowed any new position and permitted only squaring off.
How high are inflation numbers really?
Although retail inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), came in at 5.9 per cent for November, the lowest in 11 months, it was still just marginally below the tolerance band.
But does derivatives trading actually lead to higher inflation in prices?
May be not. According to a Business Standard newspaper report, a recent study of two commodities on which futures trading has been suspended on behalf of NCDEX Investor Protection Fund found that there was no evidence that derivatives trading led to higher prices or suspension of their futures had any impact in bringing down the price volatility.
The study was done on mustard and chana by Prof Nidhi Agarwal from IIM-Udaipur, Tirtha Chatterjee of Jindal School of Government and Public Policy and Karan Sehgal, a research scholar.
It found that price movement in commodities with no futures is uncontrolled and likely to be more volatile than commodities that have a footprint in the derivatives segment as they are bound by position limits, margin requirements and daily price limits.
“The analysis showed that mustard oil prices would have had a similar trend even without suspension,” the study showed.
Rather, the study found that before suspension of the futures market, it had a dominant share of 64 per cent in uncovering the true price of mustard seed. “This role ceased because of the ban,” it added.
There was a similar finding for chana.
Both mustard oil and chana were suspended from futures trade on August 16 and October 2021 which was later extended for one year starting December 20, 2021.
Since the commencement of derivatives trading in agricultural commodities, futures have been banned multiple times on one pretext or the other, the most common being impact of inflation.
In some commodities like common rice, tur and urad, futures have never been revoked ever since they were banned in 2007.
Every year since then, barring one or two in between, data shows that futures contracts for either one or more commodities gets suspended for periods ranging from one year to a few months.
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