Record May walnut shipments from California ease carry-out concerns

June 16, 2022

California walnut exporters recorded their strongest ever total for May in a sign that logistics issues may be easing, allowing the industry to dispatch previously delayed containers.

Packers shipped 57,748 inshell equivalent (ISE) short tons in May, up 29% from a year ago, according to the California Walnut Board’s latest shipping report released on Friday.

The strong performance will solidify packers’ hopes that a carry-out of under 130,000 st can be achieved. The largest carry-out on record was 98,054 st last year. 

New monthly sales continued to tail off as packers closed out their business for the crop year to prepare for the new crop. May sales were 13,744 ISE st, down 71% from the year-ago month and the lowest since July.

Year-to-date shipments continue to reduce their on-year deficit, with 576,687 ISE st shipped between September-May, down 9.9%.

Final crop receipts were revised upward by just over 9,000 st to 729,770 st, meaning total supply for the current crop year now stands at nearly 828,000 st.

If monthly shipments in the remaining three months of the crop year replicate their year-ago tally of 109,605 ISE st, then the 2022 carry-out would be over 141,000 st, according to Stratamarkets’ calculations.

However, with shipments beating their year-ago totals for the last two months, packers are confident that shipments from June to August will exceed last year’s, resulting in a more manageable carry-out.

Inshell shipments for May nearly doubled to 12.7 million lbs but crop year-to-date shipments are still 35% behind the year-ago period at 236.5 million lbs.

May kernel shipments improved by 22% on the year to 45.1 million lbs, with September to May shipments at 402.5 million lbs, reducing the year-to-date deficit to just 2%. This large increase was driven by a 157% on-year jump in kernel exports to Germany in May to 9.08 million lbs.

Packers said the higher shipment figure could be explained by easing logistics constraints at the port of Oakland. Last week, California almond exporters also reported record shipments for May.

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