Nuts

Macadamias: China drives the market

November 22, 2023 at 4:53 PM , Der AUDITOR
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CAPE TOWN/BEIJING. After South Africa, China will bring in the second largest crop this season with 56,000 mt and assert itself as an important exporter. In Australia, market players are facing difficulties.

Declining yields in Africa

As the experts at OLAM report, the macadamia crop in South Africa this season will be smaller than the original forecast of 81,000 mt. The reason for this is a severe infestation of stink bugs, which is affecting the quality and quantity of nuts available. Some shipment deadlines could not be met as a result. Some farmers were initially reluctant to harvest due to the unsustainable prices, but the industry is still quite optimistic. The 2023 crop in Kenya also fell by 3% year-on-year to 41,000 mt. There is still an export ban on inshell macadamias, and the favourable price of macadamia kernels is forcing shellers to buy less raw materials and slow down the shelling process, as they would otherwise face even higher losses. OLAM also emphasises that quality is an important factor that is closely monitored on the Kenyan market.

Australia's crop is also smaller

In Australia, however, market players are expecting a crop of 45,000 mt, which would be slightly below the 50,000 mt of the previous year. The quality here is impressive, but both yields and kernel sizes have declined, which, according to market experts, poses various challenges for the industry. Some Australian processors had sold more goods in advance and in the hope of a larger crop than they can now deliver due to the drop in production. Growers, meanwhile, are struggling with the favourable farm-gate prices.

China is of enormous importance

In China, the harvest is nearing completion and with an estimated production of 56,000 mt of inshell macadamias, the country is likely to maintain its position as the second most important supplier behind South Africa. Prices have remained stable despite the large volume, which is mainly due to the smaller crops in Australia and South Africa. OLAM even describes China as the most important active market driving the price of macadamias, and domestic demand is also likely to increase significantly again for the Chinese New Year. Overall, however, global consumption fell in 2023 due to the poor economic situation in many consumer countries, but appears to be recovering in some cases. OLAM anticipates strong demand for the rest of the year, while developments in the coming months will depend on demand from China.

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