A conversation with Gurinder Singh, walnuts business manager, as he shares interesting insights from the recently concluded Gulfood 2020.

Good afternoon Gurinder! I am hoping your day is good so far

Thank you, it has been a great day this far, hope the same is with you.

I’m very excited to know about Gulfood, tell us what is Gulfood Y20 and who was present?

Gulfood innovation summit is the most important event of the year for food professionals looking to source the latest products, understand market developments and connect with global F&B suppliers.

Well, the attendance at the Gulf Foods was better than expected. Despite the global COVID-19 scare and the alarming coronavirus travel advisories - a lot of North American walnuts’ exhibitors made it to the Gulfood Y20 as compared to the EU and Turkey exhibitors. The Chinese contingent was absent for obvious reasons.

Where are the US handlers at?

Most nuts (except Pecans) have fallen bearish, primarily due to the coronavirus and oversupply concerns. Walnuts have been no exception. In California, large handlers are well committed., while small and medium handlers, who also happened to be inshell only guys, were more bullish in the first quarter of the season and the ones concerned with their open positions and limited buyers.

And, where are Chilean handlers at?

Markets most expected Chile Chandler Inshell would open at $3.50/kg. Chile is surprised most by opening its season at $3.10/kg levels, to open lower and build up with the season. The strategy seems to have worked with India buying an estimated 5,000 MT.

What were the market saying about walnuts?

Given the overall bearish market sentiments, The Chinese walnuts were the talk of the town. The CA handlers looked a bit concerned, as the Chinese walnuts arrive at the same time, and they have seen Turkey and the Middle East buying reasonable volume this year. With the lower price and shorter shelf-life that these Chinese walnuts carry - the Chinese walnuts got liquidated faster, with the balance inventory of mostly CA in bearish market conditions. As of now Chinese walnuts are mostly going into ingredient usage.

What’s the market situation in consuming countries?

Turkey has a reasonably good amount of stocks of walnuts. CA Inshell demand from the Middle East and Turkey is relatively low, but the region has already started inquiring about Chilean walnuts. Duty changes caught off the guard for a few Indian buyers. The bigger problem is localization. Indian buyers were the most active in Gulfood, indicating that the market will absorb duty impacted kernel shipments sooner than what most businesses thought of. 

Walnuts are highly perishable than any other nuts, which means the position is likely to shift sooner. Customer Sentiment is yet another factor in decision making. However, the market situation can be dynamic.