Since the turn of the year Turkish Hazelnut prices have declined 18% in lira terms and 15.5% in US$ terms, the trend was broken briefly by a temporary rise in the second half of January as snowy conditions prevented supply from coming to market. Earlier this week the market was almost back levels seen before the 2014 frost! Prices have fallen over the last six months from record highs seen during the 2014 crop shortage. With the 2015 crop estimated at approximately 725,000 mt Turkish farmers are having to realize such a market was unsustainable.
Latest export figures show 138 124 mt kernels were shipped till Friday 5th February (against 115 901 mt last year to date) even though higher than last season they can be viewed as disappointing considering the market was hoping for a considerable return in demand as prices came back to more realistic price levels. Since mid-January weekly shipments are even down on the same weeks last year. It seems that by holding back in the early part of the season, farmers managed to keep prices higher than would have been expected, but now pay for this by limiting a return in demand. Any delay of consumption will increase the expected 2015 crop surplus which will ultimately be left with farmers.
Despite the fundamental oversupply and historically firm prices, farmers, via growers organizations have been lobbying and demonstrating to bring the Turkish Government to intervene (Fiskobirlik + TMO). The Government have made clear its not their policy to make interventions, however, this being Turkey means nothing is ever fully off the table.
Attention over the next six weeks will focus on weather and development of 2016 new crop, the winter so far has been favorable with enough cold weather to keep bushes dormant, any unexpected change in weather patterns will surely be reflected on the market.