RCN supply from West Africa continues as expected with a total of 1.75 million MT exports by the end of September. Tan-zania’s government finally started selling the 2018 crop in August and shipments have been slow, leading to firmness in RCN prices. Current price levels are $1,250 USD/MT (for IVC 45 KoR) compared to $1,100 USD/MT a month back. However, the kernel market is stable to silent with no movement in prices.
With most processors in Vietnam and buyers covered through year end, prices for kernel are expected to stay weak to stable. However, processors in India are not covered for RCN beyond November. Also at current kernel prices, demand in China, the Middle East and main markets like the US and Europe could be strong. Looming new crop arrival in Tanzania and Mozambique and slower shipments up to now will lead to softness in RCN prices as well. The kernel market is ex-pected to range bound between $3.30 - $3.80 USD/lbs. for W320s.
While the almond harvest is progressing in California’s Central valley, the uncertainty on the crop size continues. Indus-try estimates range from 2.35 to 2.45 billion lbs., which is significantly lower than the 2.50+ estimates during spring. As far as the Nonpariel crop is concerned, yields in the south and west seem up while central part of the valley is patchy and growers in the north are reporting yields being significantly down. Sizing on Nonpariel has been smaller and restricted primarily to 25 – 30’s. As a result, larger size Nonpariel are commanding a premium. Pollinizer yields have not lived up to expectations either, especially the Cal/Butte Padre varieties which form the bulk of input for industrial grades. As a result, growers have been holding off sales, resulting in buyers scrambling to cover their near-term requirements at higher levels. Shipments in September are expected to be strong, hence expectations are that prices will remain firm unless there is any big change in crop outlook. NPX 23/25 will be range bound between $3.25 – $3.35 USD/lbs.
The Wonderful Company opened price of new crop at $4.30 - $4.40 USD/lbs. FAS for Raw 21-25 Extra No.1, against indus-try expectation of $3.90/lbs. levels. In the last few weeks, estimated volumes for both California and Iranian crop have reduced. Industry experts puts the US crop at 725 million lbs., against last month’s expectations of 800 million lbs. Iran is also reducing its estimate from 220,000 tons to 180,000 tons after two weeks of harvest. They report of higher than expected temperatures during the nut filling period in late July/early August in Kerman state. Prices jumped up after Wonderful released their price, but the market is still trying to find stability.
Initial harvest is delayed in most areas with sporadic showers. The arrivals of non-Chandler varieties are less than ex-pected as of now and this is reflected in firmness of inshell prices. The destinations have low carryover inventories, and as of now the objective estimate of 630K MT seems plausible. Chandlers have yet to be harvested and the final crop size will largely depend on its results. Inshell Chandlers have increased from $1.25 - $1.30 USD/lbs. a month back to $1.37 - $1.40 USD/lbs.
The market continues to remain stable for hazelnuts with no major surprises. With Turkish Grain Board (TMO) participa-tion in buying and the Lira strengthening, demand has been consistent and is providing enough liquidity. The inventory levels are low both at origin as well as markets and this is expected to lead to stable to firm prices by year end. Current market prices are $5.50 - $5.70 USD/kg for natural and $7.60 - $8.20 USD/kg for blanched kernels.
Most of the season is over for Australia and South Africa and negligible inventories are maintained at origins. Harvesting of China’s crop began in September, though on volume it might be slightly lower than the assumption of 30k MT NIS. With demand consistently being higher than supply and lower inventories, prices have been firm and are expected to remain so through year end. Current price levels are at $11.20 - $11.60 USD/lbs. for S0 and $8.60 - $9.00 USD/lbs. for S4 while NIS are available (mainly from SA) at $6.00 - $6.80 USD/kg for 30-33 SKR.