The last few weeks have seen an increased amount of action across commodity markets as buyers look to cover for their 2021 demand at attractive prices. While the situation due to COVID-19 continues to impact the day to day lives as well as businesses across the globe, more and more countries are opening their economies with safeguards in place. The USA, Brazil and India have been showing worrisome signs in number of cases and hopefully their situations improve soon. According to a report, only 24% of the food and drink businesses expect to return to normal operating levels by the end of 2020, giving ominous signs for next few months. The increased focus on healthy food items and habits continues to be part of the discussion as people at large look to adopt healthier lifestyles. The Edible Nuts space has large offerings to fulfill such demand and a few players have already taken this into account with more focus on research and development to offer innovative products to consumers. Detailed information on various nuts and superfoods is as below:
As West Africa’s raw cashew season comes towards an end, there has been active interest from processors to cover for next few months of processing. RCN prices moved up slightly in the last few weeks due to limited availability of good quality material and current raw cashew prices are at disparity compared to kernel prices. Tanzania’s season for the upcoming crop has been notified by the government, though uncertainties remain on expected flow as well as market trade. There has been accumulation of raw cashews by a few big players in both Ivory Coast as well as Vietnam, which may push the prices up further. There has been demand coming in from buyers for covering needs for first half of 2021 as prices remain low. Chinese buyers have started coming in for year-end demand, leading to some stabilization in prices. As increased demand from India, USA and Europe comes in, kernel prices should remain stable to firm for the next few weeks.
With 193 million lbs. shipped from California in August, it reflects a 30% growth year-on-year basis. Exports were a record 127 million lbs., which is 49% higher than the 85 million lbs. shipped in August 2019. Given that pipelines have been empty for a while, the major trading markets of India, China and the Middle East posted strong imports as these markets have been easing off on COVID-19 restrictions and slowly opening up. It appears that the demand from China is a mix of HK trade wanting to take positions at the lower levels and actual end producers in the mainland. These are either ecommerce companies or buyers who have managed to get preferential duty exceptions from the government. Western Europe was up 29% and this is likely due to the fact that with the larger carryout, handlers had a lot more inventory in August of grades that European manufacturers prefer to buy. Overall, it is safe to say that at lower prices, global demand for almonds remains strong. With some questions being raised on yields and actual crop size of the 2020 crop, we have witnessed many growers pulling off the market over the last two weeks. As long as selling support remains limited and demand remains strong, we will continue to see a firming trend in the near term.
As time comes closer to upcoming harvest for new crop, some estimates have started coming in to expect 1 to 1.1 million lbs., which could be a record. As it is “on” year for pistachios the crop expectation remains good and coupled with reduced international demand, prices have been weak for last few weeks. There is some demand increase from China and as the crop situation becomes clearer in the next couple of weeks, prices may stabilize soon. Overall demand has not been affected too much due to the current situation and it is expected that increased demand from China and domestically in the USA will help to stabilize supply and demand as well as prices.
The Chilean season exports increased slightly in July and August compared to last year, though on an overall basis remain low at 27% less than last year through August end. Weak demand across the Middle East, China, as well as Europe has been pushing prices down and the market continues to remain bearish. The expectation of higher output of Chilean crop in 2021 continues, though it might be a little too early to ascertain. The USA current crop harvest has been in progress with output as per expectations with no surprises. Overall, due to low demand as well as supply kicking in, prices remain weak and are expected to remain so unless the demand situation in China as well as other international market moves up.
The hazelnut market remained stable for the last few weeks as overall demand seems to be similar to 2019. Turkey has exported 307,000 MT of the 2019/20 crop so far, which is almost 30% higher than last year for the same period. Most of the buyers seem to be well covered, leading to slowed demand while the stocks at origin also are low. The main interest now is for the new crop, which is currently at a premium compared to spot prices. The Exporter Union survey report as well as TMO estimate on crops are expected by mid-July, which will give more accurate information for the upcoming season. The market seems to be in balance with both buyers and sellers reaching an equilibrium and TMO participation may push the prices up if they start falling beyond a certain point.
The macadamia market has been largely silent for the last few weeks. The demand situation for NIS from China has seen some upward movement, though not impactful enough to push prices up. Ingredient demand across Europe and the USA also continues to be low as restaurants and hotels remain largely shut. The prices continue to remain stable with not much action across supply as well as demand. Focus will be shifting to the upcoming crop season and growers are expected to remain largely inactive for the next few weeks.
The quinoa harvest is wrapping up in Peru and Bolivia. Overall, arrivals were slow when compared to last year; primarily due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. End markets showed some positive movement over the last few weeks of the harvest season and there is some promise for demand to start growing to a more normal level over the coming months. Price levels for organic quinoa continue to be consistent over the last few months, since harvest began, which is significantly down when compared with last years crop. Pricing is expected to increase as the available crop in the market dwindles and becomes an influence.
Chia harvest is also nearing conclusion at this stage with nothing of note to report. Overall market is similar to quinoa; with lower prices when compared to the 2019 crop. Same potential to rebound as available supply reduces and we see consumption habits return to normal.