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Walnut Market Update October 2019

The Walnut board have released the in-demand October shipment report. Total shipments for the month were 93,870 tons, up 2.7% from last year. Total shipments YTD are now 120,102 tons, up 1.7% from last year. Inshell shipments were the star, up 8.2% on the month and 7.8% YTD. Kernel shipments are down 2.5% for the month and down 2.4% YTD. Total receipts are now at 583,199 tons.

Shipments deemed higher than a lot of people predicted. It is now important to consider that the industry is ahead of last year and this year’s crop, potentially 30-60k tons less than last year.

The middle east and Europe, with Turkey, UAE and Germany as the outliers. YTD, the middle east is up 47.1% on inshell and Europe is up 6.87% on inshell and 21.02% on kernels. Germany is up 228% on kernels (down 2.7% on inshell). Although parts of this could be contributed due to them stepping into the market before other regions, it is still very impressive.

Looking at the other major regions, the USA market is nearly flat to last year on kernels. Asia however, was down 62.6% on inshell and 26.7% on kernels.

Since the 2014 crop, the industry has been anywhere from 88.8% – 92.3% received by October 31st.

Processors thoughts are that the numbers are believed to be at the lower end this year. Reasons behind this include the crop starting late but finishing early. A few packers were rumored to be almost fully received by October 31st, with the later ones estimated they were only 90-93% received. Next month’s report however will help clarify crop size.

Landing into the report, we have seen walnuts trading at the following levels: JL Howard at $1.33-1.35, JL Chandler at $1.42-1.43, LHP 20 at $3.25-3.30, LHP 40 at $3.35-3.40, Chandler LHP 20 at $3.35-3.40, Chandler LHP 40 at $3.45-3.50, Chandler LHP 80 $3.80-3.85.

Although the above is a good indication to what degree the market is committed and sold still remains ambiguous, despite this there is indications that packers are ‘historically’ on pace.

date:  Nov 11, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Walnut Market Update October 2019
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

The Current Situation in Chile

The Current Situation in Chile- Exporting Effects

This week marks the third week of strikes and riots occurring across Chile. These strikes have seen violence, arson and looting of private and public property.

All of these proceedings have been occurring alongside with strikes from the main services concerning the export of agricultural products. Ports, highways and government serviced like SAG and customs services have all been affected.

Unions have been supporting the social demands therefore shutting down their operations at the ports. At the present time (TPS) and (STI) are returning to their normal conditions however with caution.

So far, the operations of most dried fruits and nuts companies have seen a decline in terms of production and shipments due to the lack of public transport for their workers, ports, and roads being occasionally closed.

date:  Nov 08, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on The Current Situation in Chile
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

New Californian Walnut Crop

New Californian Walnut crop is predicted to arrive both later and shorter than expected. There are reports from orchards that suggest the early varieties are down significantly compared to last year. Chandler variety crop represents about 60% of the total California walnut crop. This is expected to be received shortly and in turn should help provide a clearer picture of total new crop production.

Reports have shown that the average nuts set per tree has declined for the total walnut crop (16%) and for all varieties including Chandler (5%), Hartley (31%), Howard (25%), Tulare (29%), and Vina (25%). There is a percentage of Californian Walnut growers that are expecting to come in below the estimated measurement of 630k tons. However, the total crop size will be made clearer when the Chandler harvest ramps up and more receipts are seen.

Many walnut packers are off the market or only offering selectively. This is due to the unclear crop size. This has encouraged many handlers to hold back on their marketing to avoid selling early at lower prices and to avoid being oversold when the crop comes in below expectations, which is what many people estimate.

Business has been done at a higher price recently and the global demand does look strong. The shorter and later crop has affected the marketing season for in-shell and shelled walnuts this year, it is expected to be much longer in duration compared to last year. The is a continual and promising potential in pricing,

We have seen business done at higher price levels and so far, the global demand appetite looks strong. Given the shorter and later crop, the marketing season for in-shell and shelled walnuts this year will be much longer in duration compared to last year. We continue to see upside potential in pricing assumed by the unsatisfactory receipts of early varieties and the potential for Chandler to be down more than expected.

date:  Oct 14, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on New Californian Walnut Crop
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Almond Position Report

Almond September shipment figures have been released, to many people’s surprise, figures showed increases of 16.2% at 196.24 mm lbs

With a shortage acknowledged coming into new crop, most markets were in desperate need of replacement inventory.  As a result, September shipments and sales displayed drastic improvements over last year and last month’s figures.

In comparison to last year, total shipments by handlers totaled 168.85 mm lbs compared to 196.24 mm lbs this year.  Although domestic shipments proceeded into the year low, have managed to climb 8.5% to 54.35 mm lbs compared to 50.08 last year. Collectively, shipments to nearly every export market was up compared to last year with the exception of India.  India is now down 22% on the year after two poor shipment months.  While there is expectation to see a rise in figures in October, they have been struggling locally with the effects of exchange rates and local market prices.

On the other hand, China, after shipping an impressive 25.87 million lbs this month, is now up 59% on shipment for the year, although they were seen to start 36% down at the beginning of the year. An extremely strong demand from The Middle East has encouraged a 102% increase over last year, this is mainly due an extremely strong showing from the UAE which shipped 12.68 mm lbs this year vs 4.56 mm lbs last year.

September sales has hit at around 299.53 million lbs. This is a significantly larger increase from last year’s 210.94 million lbs and is the 2nd largest selling month ever. Commitments this time last year stood at 557.18 million lbs while this September is at 664.51 mm lbs. As expected, the result of this means hardly any available inventory, a mere 132.37 million lbs. In fact, inventory is 55.2% less than last year at this time. So, while there’s still room for more sales, September’s performance is well-beyond the market’s expectation of about 200-210 mm lbs.

Assuming a 2.4 billion lbs crop, the industry is now 42% sold of the crop. The industry is now ahead of last year’s commitment pace by nearly 5%.  However, this is more on-par than ahead of pace – the industry was behind pace in August.  Almond prices are also still at higher levels than a year ago, though, and likely to firm further. Almond prices, we believe, are still at levels that have shown to work well for the consumer and today’s report shows that new commitments/sales are ongoing.

date:  Oct 14, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Almond Position Report
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Turkish Hazelnut Market Update

The overall assumption is the local market in Turkey remains firm. TMO and ‘private’ markets are both willing to buy and are absorbing the available volumes. Italy is a very active buyer at present due to their own crop being short. This further increases the demand for Turkish material. Considering the above, the Turkish hazelnut industry is very much on the path to sell this large crop at the current price levels.

The current situation at the Syrian border did raise some concerns in Europe with regards to the hazelnut supply in the coming period. For the major players, this did not come as a surprise and the circumstances were well prepared for. The political division in Brussels and the complexity of the situation. Along with a strong position of Turkey, allow for opinions to be drawn that there is to be no expected direct impact on hazelnut trade between Turkey and Europe. The lira did see a period of weakening last week, however seems to be under control for now.

date:  Oct 11, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Turkish Hazelnut Market Update
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Hazelnut Market Report

Demand:

  • Export: 625-650,000 mt (Exports will be boosted by lack of Italian Hazels, relative competitiveness of the Turkish market vs Caucasus, and the wish for major users to take long cover).
  • Domestic Demand: 100,000 mt
  • TMO/FKB: 100,000 mt in shell (So far, they’ve collected 70/75,000 mt and booked 150/160,000 mt)

Today we see the market in Turkey at between 15.50 and 15.75 TL/kg in shell (31-31.5 TL kernels). This is a minor increase from last week and it is predicted that more supply will be coming into the market and in turn not going to TMO. This gives the private market the opportunity to get ahead of any squeeze on supply next year which may be created by TMO purchases. Hence in the short term we see a stable market around these current levels. At these prices there remains good demand.

Obviously, what remains unknow is currency and ultimately the eventual size of the 2019 crop. Forecasting the crop at present is very problematic, we have seen forecasts being 10% up and down many times!

date:  Oct 04, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Hazelnut Market Report
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

First New Crop Sultana & Currant Shipments On The Way

Shipments of Turkish sultanas are underway and expected to land in the UK at the end of this month.

There is an exceptionally high demand for new material due to the temporary shortage of unsold raw material in the UK. The harvest in Turkey is ongoing despite some reports of intermittent rainfall, although has not affected the quality of the crop. However, the rain will affect the colour of the fruit, darkening the skin and increasing the quantity of type No.8 sultanas against type No.9 and type No.10 quality.

Early reports have shown that the percentage of fruit dried as raisins by Turkish farmers this year will be less than the previous year. On following this, there may be a slightly higher difference in price for Turkish raisins. Currently, raisins are commanding a USD 100-150/Tonne premium over sultanas.

There have been positive reports that the first shipments of Greek Currents are leaving the port of Piraeus. There has been information that the shipment is of good quality and quantity with an expected volume of around 20,000 – 22,000 tonnes.

UK demands for Greek currents are steady. The UK market have recently drifted away from currents due to higher prices and lack of availability. However, Currents are a traditional ingredient for a number of seasonal lines, such as Christmas puddings and mincemeat so sales should intensity up to the run up to Christmas.

It has been reported that China’s crop of raisins and sultanas this year is larger, however this has coincided with an increase domestic demand. China has been a growing market for California raisins but at present duty is payable at over 50% on US raisins so sales have slumped. These have been replaced by exports from Uzbekistan and Chile, which have a nil duty agreement with China.

Imports of Chinese raisins to the EU and the UK market are likely to be modest this year as, despite a lower price, UK buyers prefer the quicker shipment and ready availability of fruit form Turkey. South Africa, California and Australia are likely to continue to supply the UK market with premium grade fruit, albeit at a higher price.

US raisin crop for this year is expected to be smaller this could create some upward pressure on the price of the US raisins. however, so far, the demand from the UK market has not increased dramatically so prices remain steady with select grade Thompson Seedless raisins available between USD 1.05 – 1.06 PER PINT C&F Felixstowe.

We have seen a slight improvement in the value of sterling against both the Dollar and the Euro over the past few days. This improvement will help kick start the new season for the UK dried Fruit market but there is continued uncertainty with the end of October Brexit Deadline.

date:  Sep 24, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on First New Crop Sultana & Currant Shipments On The Way
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Walnut Market Report September 2019

Across the board 2018 Indian walnut crop is almost sold out, meaning shortly we will be getting into the coming crop with negligible stocks both with farmers and exporters. First arrivals of new crop are expected around the last week of September 2019.Shaking news has come in with regards to 2019 crop. Very cold weather in Kashmir Valley across April and May, the blossom of all fruit trees including nuts like walnuts has been severally affected. The crop appears to be not more than 60% of a normal crop. The quantities available of 2019 crop from Indian walnuts will be quite restricted.

The Indian government have imposed penal duty on Californian almonds and walnuts. And now the rate of import duty on Californian walnuts is effectively 122%. Due to imposition of very high import duties over previous year imports, there will be strong domestic demand for Indian walnut kernels particularly of Light grades at reasonably high prices.

Diwali will fall on October 27th 2019 in India, and due to the scarcity of alternatives to Kashmiri walnuts, the suppliers of the same shall increase their prices making offers unfeasible before this rush slows down. Thus, all early deliveries of walnuts will be geared to meet Indian domestic demand and there will be very few quantities available for shipment during October/November 2019. The earliest shipments will be only from second half of November 2019 onward.

Due to mentioned reasons we expect prices to open at levels far higher than last crop prices.

date:  Sep 12, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Walnut Market Report September 2019
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Turkish Apricot Update September 2019

  • Exports in August were 6,411 tons, compared to 7,546 tons last year
  • Average price for diced apricots was $2262, average price for whole apricots was $2720

The First shipment of new crop is in, although slightly below expectations. This can probably be due to Turkeys national holidays that occurred in the middle of August meaning some packers did not start processing new crop until the end of august when the national holidays were over.

News is in that prices for sulphured apricots have firmed $100 to $200 since the opening however have no stabilized as harvest yields were lighter than expected.

Much like the sulphured apricots the lira has also stabilized over the past few weeks, and inflation rates seem to be decreasing. The banking situation is also easing with serious packers having no problems obtaining export credits.

The shortage of natural and organic apricots has rather has disturbed the markets, and prices for both have risen sharply.

This shortage of natural apricots has been caused due to the past few years low prices. This low pricing was apparent due to a high number of blemishes in the crops that growers sought to disguise by making natural apricots. Prices for natural apricots subsequently fell below the sulphured prices. However, as there were very few blemishes on this crop, growers had no incentive to make naturals. In the case of organics, the main organic growing areas of Dogansehir and Akcadag were affected by frosts.

date:  Sep 11, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Turkish Apricot Update September 2019
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Turkish Vine Fruit Update

Last week our procurement and technical team spent a number of days visiting our suppliers of Raisins & Sultanas in Turkey to discuss and view the very beginning of 2019 harvest.

Having visited some of the same vineyards as last year it’s clear that the quality of this crop will be better than last year as long as we don’t experience any rain in the next 5 weeks. The damages on the vines were nowhere near as extensive or wide spread as last year. Damages last year meant it took between 5 to 6 kg of fresh to equate to 1kg of dried, this year it should be back to the 4kg fresh to 1kg dried levels of previous years.

The number of bunches per vine and the subsequent berry count per bunch are also looking good in comparison to last year. The physical size of the berries do look smaller when comparing but this doesn’t always equate to a smaller dried berry. The expectation is that the official Turkish Standards berry counts will remain as the same but the reality of what is packed will be counts hitting the middle to higher end of those levels.

So given that it looks like we’re in for a better quality crop what does that mean we should expect for new crop tonnage and pricing?

Well on Thursday last week the Ministry of Agriculture announced the official crop estimation at 300,000 tonnes against 261,000 tonnes in 2018, an increase of around 14%. You might think that’s good news but when expectation has been for a crop to be hitting 320 to 330,000 tonnes it does mean even though there’s a sizable increase it has tempered expectations of immediate price decreases. This announcement has understandably put the brakes on new sales as packers want to see how the market reacts and how quickly farmers will deliver their material. Whilst also announcing the estimate the ministry also declared that they will support the market/farmer by buying raw material at 10 Turkish Lira per kg for STD 9 sultanas. They will only enter the market if prices start to be traded lower than that, a number of growers were expecting 9 to 9.5 TL/kg prior to the announcement. As we’ve had two and a bit days of trading locally in Turkey since the announcement of the estimation we have seen prices open at 10 TL/Kg for STD 9 sultanas as expected, the TMO (government) remain inactive at present.

Farmers will be happy at this level if it continues in the longer term but that’s a big if. Something that’s not necessarily easy to predict if it will be the case.

Over the last 12 months we’ve had to closely monitor the economical situation in Turkey regarding the huge devaluation of the Lira against the USD and monitor any potential political powder kegs that might have an impact. We’ve gone through potential fallout with President Trump regarding Russian weapon systems, fallout with Trump over the detention of a US Pastor based in Turkey, internal uproar at the challenge of the Istanbul Mayoral election result and the huge increases in interest rates paid domestically (USD from 4% to 14% & Lira from 18% to 40%). The outlook for Turkey at the moment is positive in the fact that the rhetoric around Turkey coming out of the US is now of a fairly conciliatory tone, the political situation in Turkey is fairly stable after the result of the re-run Istanbul election was immediately accepted by President Erdogan and the interest rates have fallen back close to previous levels (USD 6% & Lira 20%).

We’re hopeful that after a number of turbulent years the number of influencing factors on pricing is going to be much more predictable and in line with previous years. Huge variances on raw material prices, interest rates and exchange rates do the stability of pricing no favour. This stability is something the farmers, processors, importers and customers crave but it’s difficult to keep everyone happy.

One variance we know we’re going to face is less of a carryover of old crop into new, which will counteract any increase in new crop size. The carryover of 2017 into 2018 was circa 30,000 tonnes whereas 2018 into 2019 is expected to be less than 10,000 tonnes, thus making 2018 available material 291,000 tonnes against 310,000 tonnes this year. Exported material from Sept 2018 to end August 2019 is due to hit 265-270,000 tonnes alongside a domestic market usage of 30,000 tonnes. In theory the expected carryover and new crop estimate should just be enough to meet supply for the coming season, if the new crop estimate figure can be believed.

The demand for new crop shipments is going to be particularly huge over the coming 8 weeks as shippers/importers look to restock an empty market due to the expected price easing. We have seen enquiries from a number of importers in France, Germany & Holland for material on the spot as they are waiting for new crop to arrive and have to keep their customers going. Prices are certainly not going to decrease in the short term.

date:  Aug 28, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Turkish Vine Fruit Update
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More