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Peanuts: acreage could be smaller than expected

March 7, 2022 at 12:00 PM, Der AUDITOR
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ATLANTA/BUENOS AIRES. Some market players may be overestimating the 2022 acreage, which is likely to be smaller than initially hoped for. US exports are currently rather sluggish, while prices on the European spot market are rising.

Deceptive security

The US peanut market continues to be quiet. Currently, there are still sufficient supplies from the 2021 crop - production was 2.9 million mt (3.2 million short tons). Buyers do not seem to be in a hurry to stock up, which, according to The Peanut Grower, could be due to a false sense of security. Many seem to expect that acreage will not decrease compared to last year, while most analysts expect a decline. They reckon that acreage could fall victim to competing products such as cotton, corn or soybeans, as these currently bring in more profit. One argument in favour of peanut cultivation, however, is that it requires little fertiliser - the cost of which has risen massively in recent weeks. In 2021, the area under peanuts was 1.59 million acres, which is 5% less than in 2020.

China cuts back on purchases

Exports are rather sluggish, according to The Peanut Grower. In the first third of the current export season, exports have fallen by 24.3% year-on-year, with the decline for inshell peanuts as high as 55.1%. This is mainly because China has cut back its purchases by 70%. Peanut butter exports, however, were up 22.2%, with neighbouring Canada and Mexico the main buyers. There are plenty of goods available on the US domestic market, with total supply around 34,000 mt (75 million lbs) above that of the 2020/21 season. Total domestic consumption is currently estimated at around 1.03 million mt (1.13 million short tons) in the current season. In December, the US government had purchased just over 2,000 mt (4.47 million lbs) of peanut products to be used in nutrition programmes.

Average crop in Argentina

The Argentine crop is reportedly still developing well and experts currently expect an average yield. Weather conditions are proving crucial; January was exceptionally hot with little rain. According to estimates, about 380,000 ha have been planted with peanuts.

Prices on the European spot market, meanwhile, have risen slightly in recent weeks. Blanched peanuts, 38/42, from Argentina currently cost EUR 1.65/kg FCA Spain.

Peanuts

Type, origin

EUR/kg

Blanched, 38/42, Argentina

1.65

Blanched, 40/50, Argentina

1.75

Blanched, Split, Nicaragua

1.57

Inshell, 9/11, XA, China

2.20

FCA Spain

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price chart, peanuts, with skin, 40/50, Bold, India
price chart peanuts, with skin, 50/60, Java, India
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