In-shells:The Ivory Coast crop season has just started off with a two week delay on earlier timelines driven by a governmental decision. Whereas, the minimum farmer price slightly increased versus last year - the cost of production and shell realization (for the energy industry) are important factors for local processors and traders.
Today, the in-shell price is at disparity to kernel pricing, which we have also seen in the earlier two crops. Earlier, the cost of production was not under pressure and shell realization made it happen to sell kernels under replacement costs. The situation today has changed and we are already seeing several smaller processors discontinuing kernel production.
The remaining part from the WAF crops start flowing in and we have not heard any significant changes in pricing versus last year. Overall, WAF crops are looking decent in West-Africa. On the other hand, Asian crops are also looking decent, but have much higher prices versus WAF crops.
Kernel demand continue to focus on spot and nearby shipments. European end-customers start looking into coverage up to the middle of June 2024 as today’s raw material prices are very much favorable and at last, 15 years low. Processors are not keen to sell below replacement costs and without buffering unforeseen market reactions (i.e. freight rates, production costs, further reduction of shell realization etc.). With EU not seeing a dramatic drop in consumption during fiscal-year 2022, it’s most likely that we will continue to see a strong consumption over there. With a potential of shelf price drop, we may even see much stronger off-take during the second half of 2023.
Snacking consumption drop in the United States was significant during Q4 of 2022. On the other side, ingredients boomed and reached all time highs which gave the cashew industry sufficient new channels to explore and not being depended on snacking only. India kernel consumption remains very strong and it keeps growing at a healthy pace. China has been lacking in demand, which was an unexpected event after the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
California was under yet another Atmospheric River that stretched throughout the state of California from San Diego to Chico during the February Bloom. This brought unseasonably cold temperatures as well as moisture creating snow events in regions where it never sees snow. Areas of Southern California received as much as 6 1/2 feet of snow where it hardly ever rains, little less snows. This was also experienced through most, if not all, of the growing areas in the state.
Anecdotally, it has been very cold during the bloom (20 degrees below the norm for this time of the year), with snow, rain and wind at a most unfortunate time to maximize
pollination of the orchards across the growing regions. Bee’s will hardly fly in this type of weather, yet will, to survive (looking for food), like any other creature. With the bloom now coming to an end, only time will tell what type of crop we will have. We can reflect on previous years when there were similar conditions and still had a great crop, even record crops. So, who knows what is coming? Mother Nature somehow always finds a way.
As we now enter the growing phase, new crop outlook will determine the market for the remaining current crop supply. They are tied together hand in hand. Buyers and sellers will
need to navigate these rough waters as best as they can with the information at hand. There may be hesitation by some growers to sell their remaining stock until more information can be assessed on their crop coming.
Oh, and should I mention there are more storms on the way, with another this weekend and the potential of another Atmospheric River to hit the west coast by mid-March.
The industry stands at 1.27 billion pounds of almonds shipped to date, +2.6 % ahead of last years shipments. While February was a short month with a holiday sprinkled in there,
expectations are still for a strong shipment month. Crop receipts slowed down immensely last month giving the industry hope that the crop is shorter than the 2.6 billion pound estimate. Next week’s position report from the Almond Board will fill us in a little further.
The Administrative Committee for Pistachios (ACP) released the January shipment report on February 14th. 2022 crop receipts have finalized at 884 million pounds. Total supply for the 2022 crop year is 1.24 billion pounds, down 14% from last year’s total supply of 1.45 billion pounds. Estimated marketable inventory as of January 31st was 696 million pounds.
January shipments were up 30% versus last year at 70.1 million pounds versus 54 million in January 2021. Year-to-date shipments currently stand at 365 million pounds, up 2% versus last year’s shipments of 358 million pounds as of the end of January. Domestic shipments are down 2.4% year-to-date at 107.2 million pounds versus 109.88 million pounds last year.
While export shipments are up 4% YTD at 258.1 million versus 248.3 million last year. Inshell pricing continues to be firm while kernels have remained soft. This is due to the low availability of good quality inshell and higher availability of shelling stock.
Given the favorable winter we are having in California, a larger 2023 Pistachio crop is expected. Expectations are also that Iran will have a larger crop in 2023 after experiencing two crop failures in a row. If 2023 crop expectations materialize, it is possible that pricing softens going forward.
2022 crop receipts stand at 747,870 tons as of the end of January and it is becoming increasingly clear this crop will finish in line with our previous forecast of 750,000 to 765,000 tons. Using an estimated final crop of 760,000 tons and adding in the record 2021 crop carry out, this would give us a total supply of around 895,000 tons for the 2022 crop year. This represents an 8% increase over the 2021 crop year.
The California walnut industry is fully aware of the task at hand and has had all hands on deck trying to move this supply and bring the carry-out inventories back in line with reasonable levels. As a result, shipments have improved with January shipments up 26.4% over last year and year-to-date shipments now up 4% versus last year. This is a huge step in the right direction. Domestic shipments are now up 13.8% year-to-date, while export shipments are up 0.8% year-to-date.
We expect shipments to finish very strong in the second half of this crop year for the simple fact that they have to. Commitments are up 3.11% versus the end of January last year, which will help lead to stronger shipments. However, one point of concern on this overall strong shipment report was new sales in the month of January 2023 being down 26% versus January 2022.
With all the Walnuts that need to move, we need to see stronger sales in the coming months.
Chile has begun their 2023 crop harvest and is expecting a slightly larger crop than last year. Last year they harvested 185,000 MTs and are expecting 191,000 million tons this year, an increase of 3.2%.
There has been very little change in the peanut market since the last report. According to the USDA Peanut Stocks & Processing Report, total edible peanut usage by U.S. manufacturers is down 2.3% for the crop year-to-date period (August 2022 – January 2023).
By segment, it’s a mixed bag. Usage by peanut butter manufacturers is up 3.5%, but usage by candy manufacturers is down 14.7%, while usage by snack manufacturers is down 4.2%. Exports of U.S. peanuts are also down 2.2% for the crop year (August –
December 2022). The USDA is projecting carryout stocks at the end of the 2022 crop year to be about 1.1 million tons, which would represent a sufficient supply and provide a comfortable transition to new crop. The market has been very quiet in recent weeks, and pricing has changed very little. Market prices for current crop runner variety peanuts are still in the low to mid $0.60’s per pound on an ex-works basis.
There are still plenty of questions regarding the 2023 crop. The general consensus at the moment seems to be that peanut acres will be up in 2023, primarily because cotton prices are substantially weaker than a year ago. Most seem to feel that an overall acreage increase of 5% - 10% is realistic, but that’s only a guess at this time. Very little contracting has taken place yet between grower and sheller, so the cost to purchase the crop is still to be determined. Consequently, seemingly very little kernel volume has been sold for the 2023 crop. Sellers still have a tremendous amount of risk considering the unknowns and have to take this into account when or if making offers. Buyers feel prices should be coming down, since carryout stocks are sufficient and acres are likely to increase.
On March 31st, the USDA will publish the 2023 Planting Intentions Report which should provide some insight (at least directionally) regarding 2023 peanut acreage.
Macadamia crop is expected to continue its growth trend in 2023, with an estimated global supply of 335,000 million tons. In 2022, the industry registered an increase of over 24% in the global supply and the initial estimates indicate an increase of 11.7% in 2023. In the next 5 years the industry is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 11.3% to an estimated 500,000 million tons in 2027.
Demand looks to be picking up for NIS with China becoming active in Febuary and locking forward contracts with AUS and SA. Kernel demand though slow, but is steadily keeping constant. Lower price point being a key factor in triggering the demand. Despite the recent uptake, the industry continues to stay long on the kernel grades (mostly S4 and below) and these grades will stay discounted in the short to medium run.
The market continues to be in equilibrium – demand is weaker than expected, but farmers expect prices to move up and availability too is limited.
- The TMO offering a couple of weeks ago did arrest the bullish trend but has been unable to induce a wider selling; thus limiting the price correction TMO is now expected to sell its next tranche only by late March/early April.
- We have witnessed trades getting concluded around the 115 TL/kg mark for 11-13 Levant (Around $6/kg). Most farmers are still holding their balance crop in expectation of better prices in coming days, and we are not witnessing a larger correction. Another reason for farmers holding on is the uncertainty around the currency during and post the
- The weather in black sea region has been warmer than usual (Mid January temperatures have touched 20 degrees celsius – almost 7-8 degrees higher than normal), leading to some speculations of early bloom and thus a higher risk of frost affecting the crop. We though saw cold weather returning in early February alleviating some of these concerns. We continue to monitor the weather closely and will carry out a survey soon to ascertain if the weather volatility has had any material impact on the crop.
- Turkish exports in for the season are 169,000 against 212,000 in the same period last year (3rd week of February) – lower by almost 21%. The exports have picked up in December-January, but are still lagging over the last year.
- The TL has been slightly weak and is moving towards the 19 TL/$ mark. The EUR has weakened in the last week though, reducing the effect in EUR prices.
- We have seen better than expected demand in December-January across industries, and call off’s slowly improving. We had expected wider demand once TMO starts offering and prices stabilize. However, absolute prices remain high for most buyers to cover for a longer period.
- We expect a negative impact on demand in the Turkey market, at least for a short period, due to the earthquake affecting production and consumption in the affected areas.
- Most large confectioners partially covered their demand for the next season. We have witnessed some retailers too covering a significant portion of their requirements for Q2-Q3 now.
- Retail indicators in large markets like Germany, UK and France continue to point to sluggish demand. While it is difficult to ascertain the impact of inflation on the confectionery consumption, we continue to believe the demand might shrink in low single digits during the current season, unless we see a breakthrough in the Ukranian war and/or inflation easing across Europe.
Demand continues to be weak, but supply stays limited as well. Most pointers indicate that TMO will not be able to sell all its purchases this season and will carry substantial crop into net year. The Presidential and Parliamentary elections are planned in the middle of May, and the incumbent would want to keep the mood of the farmers upbeat. We generally expect a stable market until the next crop numbers are clear. Unless we see a large shortage in crop, we should expect supply to exceed demand.