With Vietnam now back from the holidays, the cashew market has been quite active over the last couple of weeks. We saw a change in sentiment with both Vietnam and India actively contracting inshells from West Africa.
On the inshell side: As expected, the first flush in West Africa has been good so far. We’ve seen good arrivals from all the countries in West Africa. However, we are now also beginning to see some signs of a lower than anticipated second flush in Ivory Coast. It’s also clear now that the Vietnam and Cambodia crops are delayed by 5-6 weeks. While initial projections put the crop there to be good, such an unprecedented delay has made the situation quite unpredictable. To quote an experienced Cashew trader, this projection of a good crop could all just turn out to be a mirage in the end. We did see something similar happening with the recent Tanzanian crop.
In line with this increasing uncertainty, the inshell prices moved by about 5-6% last week. There were also reports of a large trader concluding a deal for 100k MT in Ivory Coast which has further fueled sentiments. This is likely to provide support to the market in the short term.
On the consumption side: The kernels market has also moved by 10-15 cents in the last couple of weeks even as all low-priced offers have dried up from Vietnam. Interestingly there has also been a significant uptick in demand from China recently. Spot scarcity on kernels continues in the US & EU and now buyers are actively looking to cover for their far forward demand as prices continue to remain attractive. The Middle East is actively covering for Ramadan demand. The India market seems to be back on track with limited pieces availability. Virus case counts continue to fall in the US and some states like Texas are even lifting the mask mandate and allowing businesses to resume 100% capacity seating/utilization.
Some triggers that may change the direction of the market are highlighted below:
Possible Market Triggers
6 weeks delayed crop in Vietnam and Cambodia. Low in-shell availability with processors in Vietnam.
Continuing container shortages and shipment delays from Vietnam leading to depletion of destination stocks. Delays on inshells from West Africa could further compound this problem.
China coming back into the kernel market and demand bounce back in India with a massive immunization program underway.
10-12% appreciation in EUR/USD in the last 12 months. These lower prices have not yet been passed on by the retailers. Once that happens, demand is likely to further increase in EU.
Good crops across West Africa, Vietnam and Cambodia with a good carry-in of inshells inventory in India and Vietnam.
High inventory levels of pieces excluding India, especially the smaller sized pieces.