The pecan market has remained soft in the beginning of 2019. A significant amount of contracting took place in the first half of January, but many buyers are still waiting on market development. The US harvest of pecans is still projected to be reduced from crop estimates due to weather issues in the eastern and central growing regions. A larger Mexican crop balances the reduced supply in the US.
Chinese buying of Mexican inshell has strengthened market prices of late. In addition to this, off-quality in the pecan crop has already created a shortage of pecan halves. The main market forces are: a weakened tree nut commodity price, minimal Chinese participation, and delayed demand. These three factors continue to dictate current price levels.
Putting additional pressure on US/China trade talks is weak Chinese economic data, and US agricultural goods remain a key part of any future trade deal. A recent increase of Chinese inshell purchases have led to a subtle strengthening of the market. Shortages of high quality halves and a surplus of pieces continue to be the most likely result of this season, and our early season projections remain the same. A shortage of better pecan halves will lead to increased prices throughout the season for these sizes. Current market levels will most likely keep the price of pecan pieces stable.