Nuts

Cashews: distorted supply situation

January 11, 2022 9:47 AM, Der AUDITOR
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HANOI/NEW DELHI. Cambodia’s inexplicable surge in raw cashew nut exports to Vietnam will certainly continue to impact the market this year. Although traders reckon that the 445% hike in shipments from Cambodia to Vietnam is overrated, a surge has taken place, which has distorted the supply situation in Vietnam. Prices in India have approached more attractive levels.

High inventories in Vietnam

RCN exports from Cambodia to Vietnam allegedly surged by an unprecedented 445% to 1.01 million mt between January and November 2021 as opposed to the 210,000 mt shipped in the same period in 2020. As a reasonable explanation for these figures has failed to materialise so far it is next to impossible to issue reliable estimates on the supply situation in Vietnam. Given that it is very well possible that shipments from Cambodia have been underreported in recent years and that production traders think that it is safer to estimate RCN shipments from Cambodia to Vietnam at a more cautious 350,000-400,000 mt.

Even if this more moderate figure is taken into consideration, Vietnam will have, however, imported around 2.30 million mt of RCN in 2021. Issue is that Vietnam stepped up cashew kernel imports from Africa. Imports rose by 60% to 81,000 mt between January and November as traders report. Although the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) recently highlighted many problems in production and illegal activities in several countries, Côte d’Ivoire remains the largest producer and countries such as Tanzania and Ghana are on a good way in stepping up production. Africa will certainly continue to play a decisive role this year. Inventories in Vietnam have, in other words, risen to a large extent with total RCN availability estimated at 2.70 million mt and kernel supplies at 600,000 mt. Vietnam in fact exported as much as 600,000 mt of cashew kernels in 2021, which ranges nearly 20% higher than in 2020.

Harvesting in Vietnam may, however, be very well delayed this year. Issue is that unusual heavy rains have been reported and that the cashew trees have not bloomed so far. The pandemic is also far from over, which may cause disruptions and freight charges remain extortionate. Apart from this, demand should remain strong, especially since cashews are a healthy food. Although Covid and logistical challenges may certainly disrupt trading, prices are expected to move in a relatively narrow range this year with occasional ups and downs.

Cashew kernels, Vietnam

Type

EUR/kg

USD/kg

WW320

6.42

7.24

Large White Pieces

4.40

4.96

Small Pieces

2.99

3.37

FCA Spain

Difficult situation for suppliers in India

After the hikes in recent months, especially in September, the prices for cashew kernels in India are far from competitive in the international market. Traders reckon that India’s exports may have reached the lowest on record as only few buyers were prepared to accept the high prices on offer here. Covid also disrupted production and trading in India for several weeks in 2021.

Prices have now, however, approached more competitive levels. Although the prices for cashew kernels have remained fixed in India over the last few weeks, they are trading on a much lower level than last year. The prices for W320 range more than 9% lower than one year ago and for W450 prices are 14% lower. The prices for large white pieces, however, range 4% higher than in January 2020. With inventories being large in Vietnam and Africa stepping up production it should remain difficult for suppliers in India to compete with their colleagues in other countries this year.

Cashew kernels, India

Type

USD/mt

W320

8,155

W450

7,490

Large White Pieces

6,830

FOB India

 

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