Walnut Market Update
The Walnut shipment report has been released, with unexpected results. Total shipments were 60,126 tons, down 6.3% from last March, and YTD totals are now at 462,672 tons, down 6.8% from this stage last year. Total in-shell shipments for the month were 9,284 tons, down 44.9%, with YTD shipments at 261,658 tons, down 19.7%. For kernels, monthly shipments were nearly the same as last year at 48,825 tons, down 0.9%, with YTD shipments totaling 292,022 tons, down 0.9% YTD.
The domestic kernel market performed well as they accounted for 22,144 tons, up 18.5% from last March and now up 2.3% YTD. The export kernel market was off, totaling 26,681 tons, down 12.8% from last March, and YTD totals are now down 4.4% at 163,570 tons.
Europe’s total performance was good when concerning kernels showing increases of 3.4% for the month and now up 18.7% YTD. The Middle East, though last March was no major comparison, was down 44.4% on the month and is now down 43.2% YTD. Similarly Asia was also down on kernels, by 24.6% on the month and now down 11.5% YTD.
For clarity, the below charts summarise all the major regions combined in-shell and shelled pounds to in-shell equivalent tonnage:
The Walnut market has also seen the effects of COVID 19 virus. Due to the virus logistical elements of the business have been heavily affected, reduced port hours, stricter restrictions less equipment available, vessel delays (depending on the region) etc. However, despite these effects the nut industry has continued to process and produce in California as it is an ‘essential business’.
In the past month, most retail sales have increased and nut commodities have seen large increases in shipments and/or new business due panic buying from a lot of consumers. Going forward, it is an unexpected time and it seems nothing can be predicted at this stage. Considering all of the above, it is obvious that we have seen a pause in a lot of forward planning and buying etc., however with that being said most suppliers are 85% sold.
Across the past month the Californian crop has seen lots of rain and snowpack. This has set the up and coming growing season in good stead. However, it is too early to estimate the crop size at this stage.