WALNUT MARKET/CROP REPORT
At least 98 percent of the walnut crop has been delivered to the packers, with the balance held by grower’s at their facilities.
As reported earlier, quality of the 2010 crop was excellent with high yields and light color. However, the nut sizes were well below normal which forced most Handlers to pack and market Jumbo/Large blends almost from start of the harvest.
However, this was not a problem with the inshell shelling varieties as meat yields on both Jumbo and Large walnuts are about the same. Most Chandlers were packed 70/30 % Jumbo/Large and the majority of the Hartley’s were packed 80/20 % Jumbo/Large with some straight Jumbo’s bringing a premium.
Again, China/Hong Kong lead the way with total inshell shipments reaching 78.5 million pounds, compared to 28.7 million pounds at this time last year. Turkey inshell shipments were 40.2 million pounds, down 3 million pounds from last year. However, they got a late jump on the market and I have no doubt that next month, they will also be well ahead of last year.
Most industry leaders believe the crop will come in under the official estimate of 510,000 tons. The censuses range between a low of 485,000 tons to a high of 500,000 tons. For what ever it is worth, my projection (3rd so far) is 495,000 tons. The California Walnut Board will announce the final crop numbers in about two weeks.
December’s record inshell shipments of 44.9 million pounds took the year to date total tonnage to 231.0 million pounds, 60.7 million pounds more than last year. However, the shelled “year to date” shipments is off slightly with 132.4 million pounds ship to date against 134.0 million pounds last year.
The inshell equivalent tonnage shipped to date is 267,650 tons compared to 236,702 last year, an increase of 13 percent.
California Walnut Shipments Recap (000)
Month (Dec.) 2009/10 Year to Date 2010/11 Year to Date Percent
In-shell (lbs.) 26,475 170,309 44,942 230,976 35.6%
Shelled (lbs.) 31,795 133,968 33,145 132,381 -1.2%
Total Tons 49,205 236,702 60,569 267,650 13.1%
After some of the most active walnut trading in recent history, bookings have finally started slowing down. It looks like for now, the China/Hong Kong market is satisfied as well as most of the European markets. However, the Turkey markets is still going strong and are currently buying up most of the remaining inventories.
Some feel China may be back in the market after the Chinese New Year, but I don’t believe there will be much non-committed inventory available for them to book!
Limited bookings in the Light Halves & Piece market is in the $4.00 range with Chandlers about $0.10 higher. Combo Halves and Pieces are at $3.65 with smaller material 5- 10 cents higher than the H&P market. Inshell Jumbo Hartley’s are still trading around the $1.60 level with Jumbo/Larges at $1.55.
Inshell Chandler Jumbo/Large are on both sides of $1.90 with Howard’s and Tulare’s 5-10 cents less.
If the crop comes in at 490,000 tons, the industry has shipped 55 percent of the crop through December. This is 5 percents less than I first predicted. However, I believe January will be another record month and right now, my forecast for shipments through August is 490,000 tons, about the same or maybe a little less that the crop.
This should make for another great year for California walnuts that is if we do not experience another world financial crash.
Let me know if you have any questions.