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Pistachios: Covid-19 has surprising impact on prices

March 25, 2020 12:57 PM, Der AUDITOR
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TEHRAN/SACRAMENTO. Iran is one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic. Official data indicates that nearly 25,000 people have been infected with Covid-19 and that the death toll exceeds 1,900. Market players, however, report a surprising shift in pistachio prices.

Exports decline sharply

Export demand has come to a complete standstill. As the most recently issued customs data shows, overseas shipments have declined sharply between 20 February and 20 March. As market players explain the decline cannot be solely attributed to the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but rather boils down to financial issues and the FATF blacklisting of the country.

Ironic twist in Iran

Although market sentiments are very bleak, the prices have been surprisingly volatile over the last two weeks. The Iranian New Year and nutritional guidelines stating that people should eat more nuts during the pandemic have given the domestic market a boost in the run up to 20 March and have also driven up the export prices for most varieties. Spot market prices in Europe currently range at EUR 8.30 per kg for Akbari pistachios, size 22-24 NO FCA Spain.

Traders are, however, anything but optimistic. Despite the boost the domestic market has received, it should be noted that demand in the run up to the Iranian New Year ranges lower than last year. Although the prices for pistachios range much lower than last year, meaning that the nuts have, in theory, become more affordable for a larger group of people, measures in place to contain the virus are prompting consumers to desist from buying.

Pistachios, Iran

Type

EUR/kg

Ahmad Aghaei, 22-24

7.29

Ahmad Aghaei, 24-26

7.02

Akbari, 20-22

7.36

Akbari, 22-24

7.09

Kale Ghuchi, 22-24

7.16

Kale Ghucci, 24-26

6.89

Fandoghi, 30-32

6.10

Fandoghi, 32-34

5.90

FOB Iran

 

US exports decline by 25%

US exports have also declined by nearly 25% since the start of the season. As 2019/2020 is an off-year US in-shell production ranges at 331,000 metric tonnes. Production in 2018/2019 ranged higher at 451,000 metric tonnes. Total overseas shipments range at 106,888 metric tonnes this season so far. A bumper crop is, nevertheless anticipated for this year.

US pistachio exports* in mt

Destination

2018/19

2019/20

Diff.

Europe

37,343

30,754

-18%

Asia/Oceania

80,361

57,864

-28%

Africa/Middle East

16,929

11,226

-34%

Central/South America

644

634

-2%

North America

6,202

6,409

3%

Total

141,479

106,888

-24%

Administrative Committee for Pistachios *since the start of the season

 

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