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Walnut Market Update - April 2022

While March shipments were technically down 1% versus last year, the California walnut industry continues to take large steps in the right direction. March (2021) was an outlier and was 21% larger than any other March in history; this March (2022) was basically flat to last. YTD shipments continue to improve, originally down 22.4% at the end of December to down only 15.8% at the end of March. Sales for the month of 81,553 tons are also considerably higher than each of the last three months and the largest we have seen since November. If we continue this kind of pace, and it is our expectation that we will, it is now feasible to reach a carry out as low as 120,000 tons or potentially even lower. Given the current low price environment and the fact that the industry needs to move this crop due to the perishability of walnuts, we are expecting considerably higher shipments versus last year during the last five months of this crop year.

Chile continues to seek approximately 10% premium over California pricing. Supply chain issues have emerged in both China (due to Covid cases and lockdowns), and Ukraine (due to war). Given these global scenarios at the other three major origins, the California walnut industry has an opportunity to turn what was once a daunting carry out into a somewhat manageable position. We must continue to keep up the momentum and sell and ship as much as possible over the next five months in order for this to materialize.

Pricing has remained relatively stable over the last several weeks for most grades. We are continuing to see higher quality grades in short supply and expect these items to continue to firm on the back of limited availability.

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