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Walnuts: possible yield reductions in the US

May 20, 2021 11:40 AM, Der AUDITOR
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SACRAMENTO/SANTIAGO. Container shortages and other logistical hurdles due to the global pandemic situation are nothing new for US exporters. In April, however, traders managed to...

… work through some of the supply backlog, so that export volumes for the month increased by 25% year-on-year to 17,610 mt. A total of 259,369 mt of shelled and unshelled walnuts have been exported since the start of the season, about 28% more than this time last year, in addition to domestic shipments of 70,479 mt, which is only slightly more than in the same period last year. At the same time, however, domestic consumption increased last month by 53% to 9,121 mt. More than half of the exports to the Africa/Middle East region this season went to Turkey, but in April the result was down year-on-year and had declined by 70% to 561 mt. Spain had also reduced imports last month by 12% to 1,448 mt, while Germany was the main buyer, up 50% on April 2020, followed by Korea (+94% to 2,611 mt) and Japan (-3% to 2,397 mt).

US walnut shipments, in mt

Destination

2019/20

2020/21

Diff.

Africa/Middle East

70,752

102,430

45%

Europe

80,426

82,126

2%

North America

74,742

77,581

4%

Asia/Oceania

43,543

63,824

47%

Middle/South America

320

180

-44%

Others

1,582

3,707

134%

Total

271.366

329.848

22%

California Walnuts; since the start of the season

Frost and hail may not be without consequences

It is estimated that more than 90% of the 2020 US walnut crop has already been sold or contracted. After the good export figures in April, market players expect high shipment figures in May as well, which should cause prices at origin to rise. An increase of a good USD 0.20/kg is possible, although it could take a few weeks for buyers and sellers to find a common ground. Concrete data on the 2021 US crop are not yet available. With the INC Congress in the coming week, first tendencies could be announced; California Walnuts, however, usually publishes its crop estimates only at the end of August. According to the experts of the Pacific/Atlantic Crop Exchange there are reports of frost damage from last November, which could lead to reduced yields in individual cases, as well as hail during the last cold spell this spring.

Walnuts, USA

Sorte

EUR/kg

Kernels, light, large pieces

4.95

Kernels, Combo, 20% HP

4.25

In-shell, Chandler, Jumbo

2.17

FCA Spain

Temporary aid from Chile

The export of new walnuts in-shell from Chile is already underway and by the end of May shelled walnuts should also be ready for shipment in larger quantities. The additional supply should take some of the wind out of the Californian walnut traders' sails when it comes to price increases, but Chilean traders will be watching price developments closely and adjusting if necessary.

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