WAF season has opened in Ghana basis smaller volume trades which are well above earlier price expectations. Especially processors in India have been very active, Vietnam processors have been on Tet break and major part of the industry resumed work this week, therefore activity was nil.
The Ivorian government has declared 315 CFA/kg as the minimum farmer price against 305 CFA/kg last year. Converted to in-shell this is about $30,00/metric tons higher vs last year, including the export levy. Still unknown factor remains cost of production increase as the shell realization is not at same levels of last year. Nigeria is expecting a better crop than last year wherein a reduction more than 30% was noticed.
So far the weather conditions remain favorable across all cashew growing areas incl. Asia. It’s yet to been if the sun drying period will be as well favorable for the cashew sector, last year ongoing showers had severely impacted the crop quality.
Kernel demand is focused on spot and nearby shipments. With in-shell pricing yet to be discovered it’s not a big surprise to see limited forward offers as risk appetite across the industry is low due to so many unknown factors from cost of production to funding. Kernel processors in Vietnam will have a very tight working capital season ahead and loans are limited. This may lead to a constant spot coverage from an in-shell perspective which results in tight Kernel supply.
Main destination markets remain inactive during January, that coverage beyond March/April are extremely low. Tender season in Europe is around the corner and demand will start popping in from USA especially on both snacking and ingredient items. India has had a tremendous Kernel consumption season and beaten all-time records with more than 1.0 million metric tons of in-shell imports. China is likely to enter this season without any further Covid-19 restrictions, which resulted in already better activity vs. last year same period. Middle-East is another emerging and growing market and currently in the middle of their main Ramadan coverage season which will start last week of March.
The spot Kernel market is still trading at disparity vs new crop in-shell pricing, this phenomenon worked out last year due to better shell realization into the energy industry. This year we may not see this benefit for the Kernel processors, hence at this point downside looks very limited.
January brought California all the rain and snow the state could handle and perhaps even more. Some of the smaller reservoirs went from historically low levels, to almost full capacity in just a three-week period. The drought, while still of future concern, will not play a role in the immediate marketing of almonds.
As the industry sits at a little over 1.04 billion pounds shipped YTD, just under -2% behind last year at this time, almonds are perhaps at the lowest values anyone has seen in recent history. These levels have brought out buyers as the upside potential in pricing is far greater than additional downside potential.
January shipments are expected to be stronger and more consistent with last month. If so, this will send the industry into a positive shipped position for the first time this crop year and ahead of last year at the same time.
This will give growers more confidence for the months ahead. We may have seen the bottom of the market reached as sellers ask for higher bids and remain firm in their offerings. Expectations are for demand to continue in what was an active market through January, as buyers take advantage and lock up their needs.
The Administrative Committee for Pistachios (ACP) released the December shipment report on January 15th - 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.
December shipments were up 40% vs last year at 71 million pounds vs 50 mn in Dec 2021. YTD shipments currently stand at 295 million pounds, down 3% vs last year’s shipments of 304 million pounds as of end Dec. domestic shipments are flat YTD at 83.7 million pounds vs 83.8 million pounds last year. While export shipments are down 4% YTD at 211 million vs 220 million last year.
While Inshell pricing is firm, 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 set 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 743,116 tons as of end December and it is becoming increasingly clear this crop will finish in line with our previous forecast of 750,000 to 765,000 tons. Adding in the record 2021 crop carry out, total supply is likely to be up 60,000 to 70,000 tons this 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 December shipments up 8.7% over last year and YTD shipments now flat vs last year. Sales and commitments have also improved with commitments currently up 20.3% vs last year. These higher commitments should translate to larger shipments in the upcoming months, helping to improve our inventory position.
The main obstacle facing the Walnut industry remains the growing crops at other origins around the globe. China is also trying to move a record 2022 crop, thought to be as large as 1.5 million metric tons. Chile has increased bearing acreage in the ground and is right around the corner from harvesting their 2023 crop in April.
It is clear that good quality product from CA 2022 crop is running thin and as a result, should firm in price. However, the growing global crops mentioned above continue to keep a ceiling on price levels.
As of February 3rd - 2,781,868 tons of farmer stock have been graded by the USDA Federal State Inspection Service. This is in the ballpark of the estimated production that we’ve shared in recent months, but well below the original USDA crop estimate of 3.1 million tons (published in August 2022). There will be a few more tons added in the coming weeks, and it’s not out of the question that final receipts could approach 2.8 million tons. Once again, aflatoxin levels are generally low and the overall quality of the crop seems to be good. This is the 3rd consecutive year with a good or excellent quality crop. Can we make it 4 in a row with the 2023 crop? Time will tell.
From a demand perspective, edible peanut usage by U.S. manufacturers is down 2.5% crop year to date (Peanut Stocks & Processing, August – December 2022). Exports of U.S. peanuts are down a little more than 1% crop year to date (through November). The most recent supply/demand model released by USDA predicts that final carryout stocks for the 2022 crop will be 1.090 million tons. If true, this would be slightly less than the 1.18 million tons carried out from the 2021 crop, but still plenty of peanuts for a comfortable transition to 2023 crop. This isn’t to imply, however, that there aren’t some supply challenges in certain segments (Spanish, organics, etc.).
With most questions regardingthe 2022 crop now answered, attention is turning to the 2023 crop. How many peanut acres will be planted, and what will it cost to contract and buy the crop, etc.? Cotton is the main competitor for available acreage, particularly in the southeast U.S. With cotton futures currently in the mid $0.80’s, most seem to feel that growers will lean towards planting more peanuts than last year. Any surge in December 2023 cotton futures over the next few months would make cotton more of a threat to peanuts, and could limit any potential increase in peanut acres.
The macadamia industry reportedly closed at 300K metric tons NIS for the 2022 season, which is an increase of 24.5% YOY. With harvest to start in the next two months for 2023, industry has forecasted a growth of 12% at an expected crop of 336K metric tons. Barring any serious weather conditions, all origins are expected to grow in terms of volumes.
SA is expected to lead the crop once again with crop estimates of 76K metric tons (+8.5%). China with more and more orchards maturing would be again set for a record year at initial estimate of 70K metric tons (+12%). These origins will be followed by AUS and KEN at 58K metric tons (+9.4%) and 45K metric tons (+8.4%).
No major issues reported from these origins and the nut sets on the trees are looking good. Some of the smaller origins like ZIM, MZB and MAL will be under harvest from early February Industry continues to stay long on the kernel grades (mostly S4 and below). With China local crop catering to the late demand after covid lockdowns not much of the AUS and SA product could find home in China as forecasted thereby softening the prices as processors look to reduce their working capital. Prices continue to stay at a 5-year low.
The bullish sentiment continues for the previous few weeks. Though the supply is adequate, the TMO and Ferrero purchases during the season period has led to farmers believe that the supply might be limited to cater the European demand, and farmers continue to hold their balance stocks in expectation of better pricing.
- Of the 900K metric tons supply expected from Turkey, TMO and Ferrero are expected to have respectively absorbed 175K and 225K metric tons – almost half of the total availability.
- The farmers, in expectation of better prices are now holding on to their balance stocks. The local prices have now moved up from 48 TL/kg now to almost 60 TL/kg inshells owing to some spot demand from Europe and short covering by many exporters caught on the wrong side.
- The TMO is expected to start selling its inventories in February – this should lead to improvement in supply. The price levels the TMO sets will in turn set the tone of the open market.
- Turkish exports in for the season are 130K against 152K in the same period last year (1st week of Jan) – lower by almost 20%. The exports have picked up in December, but are still lagging over the previous year.
- Prices from other origins like Azerbaijan and US remain low, but availability is limited. Italian crop quality has not been up to the mark, and has thus led to some additional spot demand for Turkish Hazelnuts.
- The weather in black sea region has been warmer than usual (Mid January temperatures have touched 20 deg C – 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 do not have any concrete data on this, but will undertake a survey in early February to ascertain the effect of weather.
- The TL continues to be stable around the 18,70-18,80 level. This has been the longest period of currency stability in the last 3-4 years. The EUR though has been gaining steadily – thus negating some effect of the TL price increase.
- Retail indicators in large markets like Germany, UK and France continue to point to sluggish demand. However, it is difficult to predict the effect on the overall confectionery demand.
- Most large confectioners have partially covered their demand for the next season.