Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Macadamia prices drop in wake of large world supply

Tuesday, 30/01/2007
A large amount of macadamia nuts on the world market is expected to hit prices for Australian growers this year.
Prices have almost halved since their peak two years ago, which high returns attracted a large amount of investor interest.
Andrew Heap from the Australian Macadamia Society says many investors in macadamia farms are suprised by the sharp drop.
But he says processors will be wary about offering higher prices.
"After unusually low prices last year, after our own grower prices had been set, that hurt some of our processors, there's no doubt about that," he said.
"They have every reason to be cautious about where the market, considering stock levels and so forth, should open.
Bentzy Klein January 30, 2007



The California Walnut Marketing Board has announced the 2006 crop at 343,844 tons.

As expected, the 2006 walnut crop came in under the official estimate of 350,000 tons. However, what we don’t know is the final kernel yields. Most of the industry is reporting that yields are down about 2% from last year (40.7%), and if this is the case, it helps explain why the industry is short of inventory.

The Walnut Marketing Board announced the December shipments at 29,921 inshell equivalent tons, 2,800 tons more than last year. Inshell shipments were 5.8 million pounds, 0.4 million pounds more than last December. Shelled shipments were 23.3 million pounds, 3.3 million pounds more than last year. Total inshell equivalent year to date shipments were 196,450 tons; 19,186 tons less than last year.

Although the crop was exposed to record temperatures earlier in the year, it did not seem to affect the final quality of the crops. Early varieties (Serr’s, Payne's/Ashley's) appeared to have little damage as were the mid- varieties (Vina’s, Tulare’s, Howard’s). However, the Chandlers were darker than normal and the yields were off as well.

The WMB reported the December 31, 2006 inventory for Inshell* at 96.5 million pounds (39.1 million pounds more than last year) of which 9.0 million is certified. The Shelled* inventory is 127.1 million pounds (30.7 million pounds less than last year) of which 28.7 million is certified.

*Note: It appears that some handlers were confused on what material to report as inshell and what material to report as shelled. The WMB has sent a follow up notice advising the handler how to assign their tonnage to the correct category. In any event, the total inventory tonnage will not change and the majority of the inshell inventory noted above will be diverted to shelled.

The WMB is using a 42.9 percent yield factor (five year average) for the 2006 crop. However, most in the industry believe, the yields are closer to 40.0 percent. After taking the future inshell shipments into account and using a 40.0 percent yield factor, my numbers show that we will be completely out of walnuts shortly and a carry-over of less than 68,000 tons.


The Inshell market remains very firm with the latest trading taking place at $1.07 and higher. Also, it appears that all Inshell, including larges and mediums are basically sold out. Main reason……..the Hartley 2006 crop was only 59,521 tons, down 15 percent from last year (69,000 tons).

The Shelled market has also firmed with recent trading of LHP at $2.85 and higher and CHP trading in the $2.65 range. Again, most handlers have withdrawn from the market on Combo and Baker material and are offering only a limited amount of Light material.

One of the industries main concerns is that some walnut users may come up short and there will not be enough walnut material, (especially smaller product) to cover their requirements.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments……

Monday, January 08, 2007

Will 2007 be a good year for Vietnam’s cashew nuts?
13:07' 04/01/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – Cashew nut processors and exporters believe that 2007 will be a good year for the industry after 5-6 years full of hardships.2005-2006: suffering losses, Vinacas Chairman resigned

In 2005, the US and EU members joined forces with each other in forcing the cashew nut prices down to $4-4.3/kg of peeled nuts. Meanwhile, Vietnamese exporters, encouraged by the 2004 successful export year, signed contracts with farmers to buy material cashew nuts at high levels of VND16-18,000/kg. As a result, cashew nut exporters incurred the severe loss of VND1tril ($62.5mil).The situation was so pessimistic that Chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Exporters and Processors (Vinacas) Ho Ngoc Cam, had to resign. Mr Cam said that Vinacas once warned its members that cashew nut prices may drop in 2005, but the warning was ignored by the exporters who were so happy with the successful crop.A paradox exists that when Vietnamese cashew producers and exporters are miserable with heavy losses, Vietnam-made cashew nut is favourite by millions consumers in the world. Vietnam’s cashew nut is very delicious with high content of oil, and Vietnam’s cashew nut exports rank the second in the world, just after India.The situation became even worse, when Vietnamese cashew nut exporters, who were in critical situation as partners tried to force the prices down, could not extend the time to pay bank debts. Cashew nut exporters had no other choice than bartering the products away to get money to pay the banks. All the cashew nut exporters incurred heavy losses in 2005. The situation has been improved a little in 2006, but remains gloomy.2007, time to regain cashew industry’s strengthEncouraged by high economic value, cashews has been developing very strongly in Vietnam. In 1995, Vietnam had 190,300 ha of cashews, and the figure rose to 433,000 ha after 10 years, which can provide 350,000 tonnes of cashew nuts. There are some 200 cashew nut processing workshops, which have the total capacity of 600,000 tonnes a year. Vietnam can export 115 tonnes of cashew nut a year, which can bring $500mil worth of products.Vinacas has learned that the cashew processing industry has the development period of 5-6 years, i.e, after 5-6 years of failure, there will be a new period of development. 2007 will be the time for the cashew processing industry to regain strength.Vinacas has called on cashew enterprises to give up the old way of doing business, and to compete with Indian exports.Vinacas plans to export $700mil worth of products in 2007, which, according to Phan Van Bien, Chairman of Vinacas, within reach if local banks agreed to give support.Several days ago, Vinacas has sent documents to local banks, asking for cooperation in support in raising cashew nut exports.Nguyen Thi Tam, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Technological and Commercial Bank, known as Techcombank, and Director of Techcombank’s HCM City Branch, said that Techcombank loaned $350bil to cashew enterprises in the last year, and will lend another sum of VND600bil in this year. She said that if everything goes smoothly, the bank can provide the loans of up to VND1tril ($62.5mil). Techcombank has also cooperated with transport and forwarding companies in an effort to support cashew enterprises.Pham Van Cong, Deputy Chairman of Vinacas, said that the association would not set the fixed prices of purchasing materials for cashew enterprises. Vinacas will let enterprises to decide the prices themselves. Vinacas will only give the information about international and domestic prices to enterprises for reference only. The information will also be given to commercial banks, so that they can decide whether to make loans to enterprises.Ha Yen
Warmth a worry for fruit growers +
By Joan KernLancaster New Era
Published: Jan 06, 2007 11:27 AM EST
LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - It may feel like spring, but we aren’t about to send our winter coats back to storage.
Fruit trees, on the other hand, don’t have coats to put on and take off.Pictures of flowering cherry trees — due to that oxymoron in these parts: a warm winter — have been in the media lately.But orchard owners in Lancaster County seem to be staying calm so far.“We’re concerned,” said Ken Kauffman, owner of Kauffman Fruit Trees in Bird-in-Hand, “but there’s not a blessed thing we can do about it.”Richard Haas, former owner of Cherry Hill Orchards in Pequea, said he hasn’t “seen any evidence of buds pushing.”Nor has he had time to talk to other fruit growers about weather concerns.“I just haven’t given it a whole lot of consideration,” he said. “I have other irons in the fire.”At Barr’s fruit and vegetable stand at Lancaster’s Central Market, employee Frank Pennell said he is definitely concerned.“It’s a worry,” he said. “Peaches and apples are a big percent of our yearly income.”Everyone said the worst case scenario is a sudden drop in temperature, resulting in crop failure.Wild temperature swings hurt orchards because trees may not have hardened enough to weather the colder conditions.“If the temperature drops gradually, we’ll be fine,” Ruth Thomas said at her market stand this morning.Thomas said she has about nine apple trees and three pear trees on her farm in Lititz but hasn’t checked on them lately, although she has noticed that her rose bushes are pushing buds “just a little.”“I don’t think it’s a danger yet,” she said. “We had a couple of nights of heavy frost this week.”But what if temperatures never drop significantly? What if the El Nino weather continues right into spring?“Oh, that’s not going to happen,” Thomas said. “It will change tonight.”And everyone else who commented echoed her. They all believe winter will come, sooner or later.Haas, whose son owns Cherry Hill Orchard — 150 acres of fruit trees with about 40 of peaches, 40 of apples and the rest in cherries, apricots and plums — said a late spring would be to his advantage.He explained that the varieties of fruit trees grown in the area need about certain period of cold weather to set bud.“Our trees don’t normally bloom until the 15th of April,” he said. “We have a lot of time to get our (cold) days in.”Haas plans to attend the Mid-Atlantic Horticultural Show in Hershey at the end of the month.“I’m sure (the warm weather) will be a topic there,” he said.Kauffman works in his 90-acre orchard, primarily of apple and peach trees, all year long, weather permitting.Right now, he’s pruning.“It’s very nice,” he said of the warm weather, “too nice. It gets old. I don’t talk about it a lot.”The head of the family business, founded in 1915, said he has definitely seen a change in the color of bark, which means sap is starting to flow,.“It reminds me of March,” he said.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Iran: exports of dried fruits and nuts hit $770mln in eight months

Iran’s exports of dried fruits and nuts during the first eight months of the current year hit $770,391,000 mark which is indicative of 44.1 percent increase compared with the same period last year. The nation exported 289,201 tons of dried fruits and nuts in the current year, posting 25.4 percent growth as compared with the corresponding period in preceding year, the Persian service of official IRNA news agency on Sunday, quoted a statement issued by Iran’s Customs Administration as saying.
During the period, the share of the products in the country’s non-oil exports in terms of weight and value were 1.4 percent and 7.9 percent respectively. The report also announced that exports of dried fruits in the eight-month period hit $23,894,000. During the period, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Germany, Russia and Italy were the main importers of Iran’s dried fruits and nuts.
India: pistachio prices up on short supplies
Barring a rise in Pistachio irani and hairati, prices generally ruled steady on the the wholesale dry fruits market today in the absence of any worthwhile activity and closed around previous levels. Arrivals and offtake also remained negligible and volume of business was small.
Traders said restricted arrivals mainly pushed up pistachio prices. Pistachio irani and Hairati prices were up by Rs 10 each to trade at Rs 510-535 and 510-540 per kilo respectively.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

U.S. peanut production down by almost a third

Dec 28, 2006 4:30 PM
By Paul L. Hollis
Farm Press Editorial Staff

U.S. peanut producers, responding this year to warnings of an over-supply, dropped production by almost a third, down to 3.37 billion pounds harvested from 1.21 million acres. This is down 31 percent from the 2005 crop.

The national average yield is forecast at 2,780 pounds per acre, down 209 pounds from last year’s peanut crop. Much of the yield drop is being blamed on drought conditions experienced throughout the U.S. Peanut Belt this year.

Production in the Southeast states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, is expected to total 2.36 billion pounds, down 30 percent from last year’s level. Expected acreage for harvest, at 924,000, is down 23 percent from 2005. Yields in the region are expected to average 2,550 pounds per acre or 258 pounds below 2005.

In Virginia-North Carolina, peanut production is forecast at 339 million pounds, down 4 percent from 2005. Expected acreage for harvest, at 101,000, is down 14 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 3,352 pounds per acre, up 352 pounds from 2005.

U.S. corn production is forecast at 10.7 billion bushels in 2006. This is 3 percent lower than in 2005. Yields are expected to average 151.2 bushels per acre. This is 3.3 bushels higher than last year. If realized, the yield would be the second largest on record, behind 2004.

Yield forecasts are lower than earlier estimates across much of the western and central Corn Belt and Atlantic Coast states as producers reported that actual harvest yields were not as good as expected earlier due to lower grain weight per ear. Stalk quality and lodging problems also were reported in some areas.

Producers in the northern Great Plains, Delta states, and parts of the Southeast reported better than expected yields. Compared with last year, yields are higher in all Corn Belt states except Iowa and Minnesota.

Soybean production in the United States is forecast at 3.20 billion bushels this year. This is about 5 percent above 2005. If realized, this would be the largest U.S. soybean crop on record. Yields are expected to average 43 bushels per acre, equal to last year’s record-high yield.

Producers in the northern Great Lakes States, Delaware, New York, North Carolina and the Dakotas are realizing higher yields than earlier expectations, while yield prospects decreased slightly as harvest progressed in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Pennsylvania. U.S. area for harvest is forecast at 74.5 million acres, up 5 percent from 2005.

Upland cotton harvested area, at 12.5 million acres, is down 8 percent from last year. American-Pima harvested acres are up 21 percent from last year.