California still has limited availability on major inshell walnut varietals. Due to the record number of high heat days (100+ F // 38+ C) this year, many packers are opting to shell what they would normally sell as inshell product. Packers can better control for heat related damage during the shelling/sorting process, so we expect most packers to move on to selling their shelled walnuts faster than usual this year.
Prices from the USA seem to be on the return. December shipments were in line with last season, being roughly 1% above December 16. Despite these positive figures, are the year to date shipments still far behind last year (inshell exports -30.7% / shelled exports -8.2%).
Californian suppliers are eager to move some stocks, providing some relief to the market. This downwards trend might be slowed down by the increased import levels in Turkey, as described above. So far Turkey has been one of the most important absent buyers, this might change due to the more favourable import rates. The January shipment report will provide more insight in the actual impact on the demand from Turkey. Looking back on the Turkish imports of last season, which were YTD at 111 million inshell pounds in comparison to 57 million inshell pounds this year, the impact might be more than just a drip on a hot plate.