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Walnuts: tough year for US exporters

January 20, 2022 at 12:38 PM, Der AUDITOR
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SACRAMENTO. Transport problems had caused many US exporters to miss the important Christmas business. High prices had also initially deterred buyers, but have now returned to a more attractive level.

Prices for Chinese goods also decline

The US walnut exporters are facing difficult times and the experts at Catz reckon that these will continue through 2022. After the objective crop estimate of 670,000 mt was significantly lower than the subjective estimate (722,000 mt), prices had initially risen. However, most buyers had already stocked up and refrained from further purchases.

Logistical problems also meant that the first deliveries of the new crop did not arrive until after Christmas, which, according to Catz, meant that important sales opportunities were missed during the peak season. US exports to all major buying countries declined and weak demand caused prices to fall rapidly in recent weeks. This is not only affecting US prices; there have also been price declines in China, partly due to cheaper US goods and partly because buyers there are now stocked up for the upcoming Chinese New Year. Chinese walnut kernels, ELH90, are currently trading at USD 5,700/mt CIF Hamburg.

Walnuts

Type

EUR/kg

Chandler, ELHP 80%, Chile, manually cracked

8.80

Chandler, ELHP 80%, Chile, mechanically cracked

7.65

Chandler, inshell, 30-32 mm, Chile

2.55

Chandler, inshell, jumbo/large, USA

2.60

Howard, inshell, jumbo, USA

2.50

FCA Spain

Exports down by a third

A look at California Walnuts' export values shows how drastic the declines in US shipments really are. Since the beginning of the season, a total of 137,545 mt (303,234,583 lbs) of shelled and unshelled walnuts have been shipped domestically and overseas; in the 2020/21 season, the figure was already 201,187 mt at the current time. This corresponds to a decline of almost one third. With 45,994 mt (101,399,774 lbs), a large part of the shipments continues to go to Europe; here the year-on-year decline is also relatively moderate at -4%. Germany remains the most important customer country and was importing 4,623 mt (10,191,283 lbs) of US walnuts in December alone. The export declines to Asian and African destination countries are particularly evident; here, US imports have fallen by -48% and -56% year-on-year since the beginning of the season.

US walnut shipments, in mt

Destination

2020/21

2021/22

Diff.

Europe

47,772

45,994

-4%

North America

44,781

40,205

-10%

Africa/Middle East

71,771

31,337

-56%

Asia/Pacific Rim

34,509

17,798

-48%

Central & South America

160

110

-31%

Others

2,194

2,101

-4%

Total

201,187

137,545

-32%

California Walnuts; since the start of the season

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