Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Almonds Update

Below are the April ’11 almond industry shipment numbers. Record shipments all the way around! Domestic shipments of 39.9 mm lbs is +7% over last April shipments of 37.3 mm lbs.. Export had a tremendous month of 86.4 mm lbs or +26% ahead of previous April shipments of 68.4 mm lbs. Total industry shipments were 126.4 mm lbs represent a +20% increase over previous year. Of the 18 mm lb increase shipments in export, Western Europe accounted for 11mm lbs..

Momentum is strong as we approach the June ’11 new crop estimate. Please continue to send any inquiries to my office for a reply.



R.L. “Pete” Turner May 16, 2011


Again, walnut shipments continue to set monthly records with April shipments reaching 32,764 inshell equivalent tons compared to 29,001 tons last April. This puts the total shipments to date at 416,139 tons, just 86,000 tons short of the entire 2010 crop tonnage (502,000 tons).

Based on my next four month forward forecast, I put the 2010 crop carry-over at 36,000 tons, 5,000 tons less than last year. However, this is based on the CWB official shell out rate of 43.5%, which could be adjusted depending on the final walnut inventories on September 1st.

Turkey/UAR and China/Hong Kong continues to lead the import of California walnuts. China/Hong Kong year to date inshell shipments reached 98.1 million pounds compared to 41.1 million pounds last year. Although Turkey/UAR got a late start, they have imported 69.0 million pounds of inshell, compared to 54.8 at this time last year.

Export shelled shipments have reached 121,358 million pounds, 15.6 million pounds ahead of last year. Domestic shelled shipments were 117,887 pounds, down 11.9 million pounds. The combined total tonnage for shelled products is 239.2 million pounds, 3.7 million ahead of last year.

At this stage, the 2011 walnut crop looks good, however, it appears that some of the 3rd. set on Tulare’s have been damaged hot winds several weeks ago. Not sure if this is the case in other parts of the growing regions, but the four orchards I inspected had this type of damage. The Chandlers looked good as well as the Vina’s and Hartley’s.

Although we have had a great growing season with plenty of water and chill hours, I still believe the crop will be down from last year’s record crop (502,000 tons).

I believe the Harleys tonnage will get back to normal and will be down 10,000 tons from last year (70,000 tons). Chandler tonnage may be up somewhat but there is a good chance that the Tulare’s will be down again.

In any event, it is still too early to make a calculated estimate; but we will have a better idea of the crop size when the packers issue their “subjective” estimate the end of July.

California Walnut Shipments Recap (000)

Month (April) 2009/10 Year to Date 2010/11 Year to Date Percent

In-shell (lbs.) 3,823 200,440 4,639 282,288 40.1%

Shelled (lbs.) 23,947 235,594 26,487 239,246 0.02%

Total Tons 29,001 336,729 32,764 416,139 13.5%


Inquiries have slowed down from last month and very little new trading is taken place because of low inventories.

The market for Light Halves and Pieces continue in the $4.30 range with Combo material approximately $0.15 less. In-shell Chandlers are still in the $2.00 area with Tulare’s and Howard’s $0.05- $0.10 less. Not sure of the Jumbo/Large Hartley’s as very little trading has taken place over the past several months. The last price I heard was $1.75.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Kind regards,


Tulare’s 5/10/11(note burnt ends on the tip’s of the 3rd set)

1st set 2nd set 3rd set

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekly Cashews update

MAY 14, 2011

Cashew market was steady with a firm undertone in Week 20. Business was done for W320 in the 3.95-4.00 range from India & Vietnam. There were reports that Vietnam sold Splits around 3.45-3.50 & Pieces from 3.25 to 3.35 FOB. There was a fair amount of buying interest from several directions. Most processors are asking few cents more now and that too for limited quantities.

RCN prices have moved up from the lows seen in April. Shipments from West Africa are picking up but not to the extent expected. It seems that the shipping period will extend several weeks beyond normal. This will definitely affect the kernel yields and will also mean continued tightness of kernel availability for next few months.

In the last 3 weeks, prices moved from 3.80/3.85 to 3.95/4.00 FOB and all markets have been buying for third quarter shipments – this indicates that offtake in Jan-Apr has not been as bad as expected. This will probably mean that there will be regular buying to fulfill delivery commitments. Added to that, there will be buying in case of any new contracts with roasters / retailers.

Indian domestic market which was quiet for about six weeks is showing some signs of activity. Traders normally start buying from mid/late Jun to build up positions before the peak consumption period of Aug-Dec. It will be interesting to see how they operate this year – high prices could reduce carrying capacity but if the demand is there, financing should not be a problem.

Considering this demand side scenario and no possibility of any immediate increase in supply, some people feel that there is room for market to go still higher. Our feeling is that even if the prices do not go up too much, there is very little chance of any price decline in the near future. Market will continue to be supported by regular buying from some market or the other (although there may be periodic dips if some processors need to sell in a hurry to finance RCN purchases - this may not happen if the RCN flow is spread over a longer period).

Apart from any major development in external factors, a change in the cashew market trend will happen only when the supply-demand balance turns easier – this is possible only when supply increases significantly (good crops in all origins) OR if there is a significant move away from cashews in major consuming regions. There are no signs of either at the moment but things could change at the end of the year or beginning of next year. Until there are clear indications of change in either of the fundamental factors, we should expect a steady to firm market.

Pankaj N. Sampat

Monday, May 09, 2011

Weekly Cashews update

MAY 7, 2011

There was reasonable activity with all markets in Week 19 with prices moving up a few cents in the latter part of the week. Business was done for W320 from 3.85 to 3.95, W450 & SW320 from 3.75 to 3.80, SW360 from 3.55 to 3.65, Splits around 3.45, Pieces around 3.30 FOB (some processors were able to sell few cents higher). Lower offers are no longer available from both origins. Prices moved up a bit in the Indian domestic market as well.

RCN market continued to see a wide range of prices depending on origin, quality and payment terms. Shipments are expected to move faster in May although this is not certain as there are lot of logistic problems in several ports. Based on cutting test results in origin, kernel yields from most origins are expected to be lower than normal. Vietnam has been more aggressive in West Africa than normal. Coupled with the quantities being picked up by Brazil, this will leave substantially lower quantity for Indian processors.

As discussed earlier, processing in Feb-Apr has been much lower than normal (some processors have been running to less than 50% of capacity). May is also expected to be slow with bulk of RCN arriving in India & Vietnam from mid June. If you take into account lower kernel yields in coming months, it means that the pipeline will continue to be tight in the foreseeable future. Supply will become comfortable only after there is an increase in production. This can happen only if 2011/12 crops are really good – we have had two consecutive bad crop years.

Usage in some markets will definitely be affected due to the high prices but even a double digit decline in some markets will not equal the supply shortage from two bad crops. In Asia, the high prices have not had any impact on usage – in the last quarter of 2010, demand was strong despite prices being at historical high levels.

In the next 3-4 months, we expect good demand in Asia (including West Asia) for the traditional festivals. Also the two big importing regions – USA & EU – are expected to continue their pattern of buying for few months requirement. USD has moved up about 3.50% in two days at the end of this week. If it resumes decline in few weeks (or even remains around current levels) the cost for EU, Australia and some other markets will continue to be around 2010 average – this should reduce the impact of higher prices when contracts are being made for late 2011 & early 2012 deliveries.

There is a view that all this means that prices can go higher before they start coming down (when supply improves or if demand in all markets sees a big decline). Our feeling is that even if prices do not go up much, there is very little chance of any significant decline in prices for next few months (although we may probably see some dips when some processors need to sell to raise cash to pay for RCN purchases).

To sum up, we can expect the market to be steady to firm in the foreseeable future – change in trend & range is possible only when supply becomes comfortable (not possible in the near term) or something unexpected happens on external factors.

Would appreciate your comments on current market situation, your views & forecast of demand + market trend.... and any other news + information

Pankaj N. Sampat


MAY 5, 2011


The initial subjective forecast for the 2011 California almond production is 1.75 billion pounds. This is 6 percent above last year's production of 1.65 billion pounds. Estimated bearing acreage for 2011 is 750 thousand. This forecast is based on a telephone survey conducted April 21 - May 2 from a sample of almond growers. Of the 486 growers sampled, 375 reported. Acreage from these reports accounted for 27 percent of the total bearing acreage.

After a good winter with excellent chilling hours, the 2011 almond crop bloom began. A cold spring lengthened the bloom, causing more overlap between varieties. Cold weather can affect bee activity, but pollination was successful this year and California almond trees set a good crop. Freezing temperatures this spring did affect the northern regions more than the south, but frost damage was not significant. Older plantings suffered some damage from the strong winds that accompanied the spring storms, but overall damage was minimal. Spotty damage from hail was also noted. Low disease and insect pressure have been reported and, with all the precipitation California has seen this winter, lack of water for irrigation is not the problem it was a few years ago. Normal levels of shed have been reported. The crop in general is reported to be good with heavy sets noted on several varieties.


Results of the subjective survey are based on opinions obtained from growers. The sample of growers changes from year to year and is grouped by size of operation, so all growers will be represented. Each selected grower is asked to indicate their almond yield per acre from last year and expected yield for the current year.


A special thanks goes to the many almond farm operators and owners who provided information on their operations. The support was outstanding and we appreciate the time they spent completing telephone interviews.