Cashews: market experts are optimistic

January 12, 2024 at 2:40 PM , Der AUDITOR
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HANOI. Although the Vietnamese cashew industry faced various hurdles in 2023, exports increased significantly. Now it's time to stay on the ball, as African growing countries are proving to be serious competitors on the global market.

China overtakes the USA as the most important export market

The year 2023 has presented the Vietnamese cashew industry with many challenges amid fluctuating commodity prices and the rise of African origins, including in processing. The Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) rightly recognises that Vietnam must therefore find ways and means to maintain its position in the global market. This already looked very promising last year: Vietnam's export turnover is estimated at USD 3.63 billion and production is said to have reached 641,000 mt, which corresponds to a 17% increase in value and a 23% increase in production compared to 2022.

The Chinese market plays a particularly important role in the success of the Vietnamese cashew industry. Chinese importers have greatly increased their purchases in Vietnam, which according to Vinacas is mainly due to a shift in demand. The consumption of more expensive nuts such as almonds, walnuts etc. is declining in China, while the consumption of cashews is increasing instead. China has even overtaken the USA as the most important export market.

UAE significantly increases imports

In the middle of 2023, many Vietnamese cashew companies ran into difficulties as demand and thus orders declined, while fluctuating credit interest rates caused additional uncertainty. Q4, however, brought relief as trading activity picked up again. Exports also increased considerably, not only to China but also to other important key markets such as Germany, the UK, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The UAE even increased its cashew imports from Vietnam by a whopping 148.7% year-on-year. After food associations in Europe and the USA warned about the poor quality of cashew nuts a few months ago, the Vietnamese industry has also increased its focus on good quality in order to maintain the reputation of Vietnamese cashew nuts and avoid losing customers. According to Vinacas, this is particularly important as the competitive pressure from African growing countries is increasing.

Rising demand

Despite the ailing global economy and high inflation in almost all countries, market players are expecting positive developments on the Vietnamese cashew market. Processing capacity and quality are to be increased in order to keep pace with strong competitor countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, with new technological developments also playing an important role. As the global trend towards vegan and vegetarian diets continues, global demand for cashew nuts is expected to increase by 4.6% by 2027. Vietnam currently accounts for more than 75% of global cashew nut exports, and the country is doing everything it can to ensure that this remains the case.

Difficulties will also be evident in 2024

However, the industry will still face some difficulties in 2024. The experts at Samsons Traders point out that the war between Russia and Ukraine may continue to cause disruptions, and the situation in the Middle East is similar. The attacks by Houthi rebels on cargo ships in the Red Sea are currently causing delivery delays and high freight costs, and here too it remains to be seen how the situation will develop. Overall, however, Samsons Traders also expect the market to remain at least stable.

However, there have been slight price increases on the Indian market in recent weeks. Indian cashew nuts, W320 currently cost USD 7,925/mt FOB India.

Cashews, India













FOB India

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