Nuts

Macadamias: significant price increases in South Africa

February 8, 2024 at 11:25 AM , Der AUDITOR
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CAPE TOWN/CANBERRA. In South Africa, commodity prices are rising sharply, which will also be reflected in export prices. The prospects for the Australian macadamia crop are good, while Kenya is facing various difficulties.

China's demand drives trade in Africa

As the experts at OLAM report, the 2024 season in South Africa is slowly gaining momentum. More and more deliveries from farmers are reaching the markets, and the first in-shell macadamias have been processed since the beginning of the month, so we should soon get a first glimpse of this year's quality. Prices here are relatively high, mainly due to strong demand from China. Growers are currently expecting prices for in-shell macadamias to rise by at least 12-15% compared to last year; this high commodity price will ultimately ensure that export prices for shelled kernels also rise.

In Kenya, the government's decision to allow the export of in-shell macadamias has boosted trade. China in particular has shown great interest, but according to OLAM, the quality of Kenyan nuts remains a challenge. In addition, Kenya continues to struggle with lower yields due to the size of the farms and poor cultivation methods. Nevertheless, the 2024 crop volume is currently estimated at 45,000 mt, which would be an increase on last year's 41,150 mt.

Good quality in Australia and China

In Australia, the massive drought caused problems for farmers in 2023, but also ensured that the impact of pests and diseases was limited. The months of August and September then offered excellent conditions for the flowering period, so growers here are expecting good yields; in addition, a large number of new trees are to be planted in 2024, so everything points to a good season so far. Market players are expecting higher yields with a good quality in Australia.

In China, business for Chinese New Year, which is celebrated on 10 February, was concluded at the end of January, and market experts are now expecting a calmer market. According to OLAM, the quality of Chinese goods has already improved in 2023 and is expected to improve further this year. After several years of rapid expansion, the area under macadamia nut cultivation is stable at around 309,000 ha, according to official figures. The most important Chinese cultivation region is Yunnan, followed by Guangxi and Guangdong.

Kenya becomes the most important supplier for Germany

Looking at the global market, experts report that the carry-over stocks from 2022 were reduced in the second half of 2023, with the significant price correction also playing its part. This year, the carry-over stocks are small and the future of the industry currently looks quite optimistic. According to OLAM, the supply of shelled macadamias is likely to be quite low in Q1 of 2024, as most major producing countries will only offer supplies from April and May onwards. This could lead to short-term supply pressure and drive the price up, although falling Chinese demand after the New Year should counteract this.

Germany's imports in the period September-November 2023 increased slightly by 5.4% compared to the previous year. Kenya overtook South Africa as the most important supplier with 495 mt, and with Malawi, another African producing country secured third place. In contrast, the Netherlands and Australia suffered considerable losses in shipments to Germany, with -42.8% and -35.2% respectively.

Macadamia* imports, Germany, in mt

Supplier

2022/23

2023/24

Diff.

Kenya

413

495

19.9%

South Africa

508

449

-11.6%

Malawi

0

115

n/a

Netherlands

152

87

-42.8%

Australia

108

70

-35.2%

Others

32

63

96.9%

Total

1,213

1,279

5.4%

Federal Statistical Office of Germany / Sep-Nov

*08026200 Fresh or dried macadamia nuts, shelled

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