Wednesday, October 31, 2007

R.L. “Pete” Turner October 31, 2007


The Walnut Marketing Board announced the September shipments at 22,594 inshell equivalent tons; about the same as last year. Inshell shipments were 6.9 million pounds, compared to 5.9 million pounds last September. Shelled shipments were 16.4 million pounds, 0.4 million pounds less than last year. Total inshell equivalent year to date shipments are 39,984 tons; 280 tons more than last year to date shipments.

It is still a little early to make a good crop prediction but most in the industry believe the crop is coming in short of the 320,000 tons official forecast. The early varieties as well as the Hartley’s seem to be coming in close to the forecast. However, packers and growers are reporting that Chandlers are coming in short of the official state forecast. Based on the current information and input from the grower/packers I would have to guess the crop is closer to 300,000 tons than the original 320,000 ton estimate.

However, the quality of the crop appears be well above average with very little insect or sunburn damage. The Chandlers have great color as well as the Serr’s, Vina’s and Hartley’s. Most are reporting that the Howard’s are darker than normal, but are above average in edible yield.

As expected, empty pipe lines put a heavy demand for early shipments causing the market to strengthen rapidly. The early opening on Light Halves & Pieces started out at $3.05 range and quickly jumped to $3.35. Inshell Jumbo opened at $1.20 and went to $1.35 when Diamond opened their price two days later. Shelled material took another jump when they opened LHP at $3.80. The market quickly followed.

The current market on Jumbo Hartley’s is between $1.50 and $1.55 with Chandler LHP offering at $3.90. Because of the shortage of small material, Medium and Small Pieces are trading $0.15 to $0.25 above the Halves and Pieces. Topping Pieces is well above the $4 levels.

Because of the sudden strengthen of the market; it is difficult to determine where it may go over the next several months. However, if the crop continues to come up short, I do not believe the market will weaken, in fact, it may get firmer as we get closer to the holidays.

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

Vietnam′s cashew export increases in first 10 months
Vietnam has so far this year reaped cashew export revenues of 523 million U.S. dollars, posting a year-on-year rise of 27 percent, local newspaper Investment reported Friday. The country has exported some 130,000 tons of the nuts since the beginning of this year, up 22 percent, mainly to China, the United States, Russia, Japan and the Middle East, the paper quoted the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as reporting.Vietnam planned to increase its cashew cultivation acreage to 450,000 hectares from 350,000 hectares in 2005, with estimated annual yield of 500,000 tons in 2010, said the ministry. Vietnam is expected to earn some 560 million dollars from exporting 140,000 tons of cashew nuts in 2007, up 10.9 percent and 10.2 percent respectively against 2006, according to the Vietnam Cashew Association. Source:
Publication date: 10/31/2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Breeding bolsters macadamia industry profits

New varieties emerging from the macadamia breeding program could increase profitability across the whole macadamia supply chain by 30 per cent. According to Project Leader, CSIRO’s Dr Craig Hardner, the best of the 20 new macadamias selected could produce double the yield of current commercial varieties.“Kernel quality seems to have also been improved through the breeding program and this may reduce the level of reject kernel prior to roasting,” Dr Hardner said. Former Deputy Chief of CSIRO Plant Industry and current Horticulture Australia Limited’s (HAL) Chair, Dr Nigel Steele Scott was part of the team that initiated the project in 1992 with a long-term set of breeding goals aimed at improving macadamia profitability.“It is really exciting to see how this project has developed, kept focus and is now delivering. All of us involved in this, now and in the past, can be proud that we have probably made the most significant progress in the domestication of any Australian native plant,” Dr Steele Scott said. The selected macadamias come from crosses made between macadamias from native populations in Australia and varieties from Hawaii developed from Australian seed. The wealth of macadamia’s genetic material in the Australian bush can be used to breed better commercial macadamia varieties suited to Australian conditions. Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries will now run trials of the selected macadamias in different regions to confirm the elite performers and their utility.“These trials will ensure growers get the most profitable varieties when they become commercially available in about eight years,” Dr Hardner said. Growers are enthusiastic about the selections and are hoping to get involved in the early trials.“These new varieties will help keep Australian producers competitive in export markets where we compete against countries with lower labour costs,” said Mr Kim Jones, Macadamia Industry Development Manager.This research is done by CSIRO in partnership with Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and NSW Department of Primary Industries. The project was facilitated by HAL in partnership with the Australian Macadamia Society and was funded by the macadamia levy.Source:
Publication date: 10/29/2007
Cashews Weekly update October 29, 2007

Although activity last week was limited, cashew market undertone was firm with very few offers – W240 around 2.70, W320 around 2.30, W450 around 2.15 FOB. Some business has been done for nearbys at these levels from India and Vietnam.

Brazil crop may not be as big as initially reported – it may only be same or slightly higher than last year. RCN prices are high & processors are finding it difficult to sell at current levels with a very strong currency

Rawcashew market is quiet – offers from Indonesia are very high and Tanzania stalemate continues. If not resolved quickly, this might affect processing in first quarter of 2008

In general, prices for all nuts are firm – some due to short crops and some due to good marketing. Growth in consumption is steady but not spectacular. As far as cashews are concerned, excess inventories have been used up – supply & demand seem to be well balanced.

Processors are reluctant to take large positions for 2008. If USD continues to be weak in first half 2008, this could have significant impact on WA RCN pricing. Buyers are still not prepared to pay premium for forwards as they feel that there is nothing on demand & supply front to warrant a big jump in prices

For next few weeks (maybe months), present trend of nearby activity and firmness can be expected to continue. Change in perception can only happen in Mar-May when three major regions will be harvesting. Exchange rate at that time and ability of processors & kernel traders and users to manage positions in the meantime will determine whether there will be a big change in price range

Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rain complicates walnut harvest
STOCKTON October 17, 2007 4:24am
• Some nuts in the mud
• Can hinder mechanical harvesters Muddy orchards are complicating the end of harvest for a number of Central Valley walnut growers.
They had walnuts laid in rows on the ground when heavy rain fell on their orchards. Now, the farmers are scrambling to get the nuts picked up and dried before more rain falls.
Some farmers have almost completed harvest work, but others have much yet to do.
Walnuts grow throughout the Central Valley, but San Joaquin County has the most acreage and has had periodic rain.
Walnuts are harvested September through November. The nuts are removed from trees by machines that shake the nuts to the ground. They are then swept from the orchard floor by mechanical harvesters and taken to processing plants where they are dried and cleaned before being packed.
Virtually all – some 99 percent -- of U.S. walnuts are produced in California.
The California walnut industry is made up of over 5,300 walnut growers and about 55 walnut processors
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cashews market updateOct 20, 2007
Cashew market seems to have settled down in a comfortable range – W240 around 2.65, W320 around 2.25, W450 around 2.10 FOB. Reasonable volumes are being traded from India & Vietnam.
Rawcashew market is quiet – offers from Indonesia are very high and Tanzania stalemate continues. Until they come to realistic levels, movements are unlikely to start.
Inventories of main grades are low in USA & Europe and this will keep market steady. Volume traded for next year has not been much – processors are not keen to sell unless they get a premium and buyers feel that there is nothing to trigger a change in the current price range. Supply growth will take care of normal consumption growth
Weaker USD means lower realisations for origins and attractive prices for non-US markets. This could have some impact on market in coming months
Overall feeling is that market will move within few cents of current range with a possibility of some increase in case of any supply disruption or big jump in demand
Would appreciate your comments on market situation and your forecast of demand & price trend and any other news or info
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India