Indian Pepper and Spice Trade Association (IPSTA),one of the oldest pepper exchange in the world to trade in pepper futures, ceased to exist from January 10 th with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) granting an exit order. The regional exchange formed in 1957 decided to request for an exit order with no trading for more than one year, officials of IPSTA told FE. After the launch of national multi commodity futures exchanges, IPSTA has seen volumes dwindle and members have stayed away from trading in the past few years.The decline in fortunes of the exchange also coincides with the arrival of Vietnam in pepper production and the gradual shift of trade from the terminal market of Kochi. Interestingly, the IPSTA model has been a very successful one with a high level of transparency and delivery,traders said.
The manual trading system was replaced with an online system some years ago but the growth of national multi-commodity exchanges dwarfed the exchange, relegating it to a low-volume regional player. The association’s effort to become a multi-commodity exchange also did not succeed. It lost the initiative to succeed way back in 1995 when they failed to implement the UNCTAD report on developing the trade. ML Parekh,former president of IPSTA still believes that the exchange was one of the most transparent and efficient in the world. “Our contracts were delivery based and we encouraged delivery while the new exchanges strive to keep delivery well below 2% .At the end of 90s, the exchange had a daily average turnover of 300-350 tonne and a maximum turnover of 600 tonne,” Parekh said, adding IPSTA had 14 members at its height of glory.
The governing board of IPSTA, at its meeting held on June 6, 2017, resolved to take a formal voluntary exit as a recognised commodity exchange and the same had been ratified by the members of the exchange at the extraordinary general meeting held on June 23, 2017. “There has been no trading activity at the exchange platform for more than twelve months. The market of pepper is also not conducive as there will be limited capacity left post export that can be traded at the exchange and the exchange will not be able to attain the net worth requirement of Rs 100 crore as stipulated by SEBI with respect to the demutualisation,” IPSTA sources said. The annual turnover at IPSTA during the periods 2014-15 and 2015-16 was Rs 12.58 crore and Rs 63.13 crore respectively, in pepper futures, which was the only commodity traded on the exchange platform, the SEBI order said.