Cashews: good but also alarming exports

May 23, 2023 at 8:34 AM , Der AUDITOR
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HANOI. Encouraging as Vietnam’s export figures for cashews sound, the industry is by no means out of the woods. Monthly exports, in fact, rebounded to 51,400 mt worth USD 305.48 million in April, which is the highest level seen since October 2021 as local media report in analysing official customs statistics.

Revealing figures

April exports are 3.4% up in terms of volume and 3.5% up in terms of value on March 2023 as well as 5.6% and 5.2% respectively up on April 2022. Accumulated exports for January to April reached 162,400 mt of cashews worth USD 942.50 million, which is also 6.1% and 4.5% up on the same period in 2022. Yet, average export prices declined by 1.5%, from USD 5,944/mt in the first quarter of 2022 to USD 5,865/mt in the first quarter of 2023.

Concern is also being voiced over the fact that exports to many key destinations have declined this year, with the noted exception of China, Saudi Arabia and Japan along with the United Arab Emirates and the UK. Judging by Chinese Customs figures imports soared by 45% to 8,420 mt in terms of volume but declined by 0.6% in terms of value to USD 33.88 million in the first quarter of 2023 as compared with the same period last year. Although Vietnam accounted for 4,720 mt worth USD 27.72 million of this amount, the country’s market share declined from 67.4% in 2022 to 56.05% in 2023. Issue is that China has shifted buying more towards producing countries in Africa such as Benin, Côte d'Ivoire and Togo as well as Tanzania.

This shift has a knock-on effect for Vietnam’s cashew industry, which relies on RCN imports, as many African countries are stepping up RCN processing to generate employment and more income. Brazil also increased exports to key destinations such as the USA, the Netherlands and Canada in January to April 2023 according to the International Trade Center. Total exports, in fact, reached 3,310 mt worth USD 19.47 million in the first quarter, which is 11.3% up in volume and 28% up in value on the same period in 2022.

Sharp decline in India

Prices have declined sharply in India in recent days as new crop arrivals are up. India is the world’s leading consumer and exports limited volumes.

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