Though May walnut shipments from Chile declined 30% from last year, market observers said this year’s shipment pace is normal considering that last year’s sales accelerated during the same period after a new crop estimate was lowered.
The country shipped 19,778 inshell equivalent (ISE) mt in May, down from 24,193 ISE mt a year earlier but flat to the same month in 2020, according to a June 17 shipping report published by Chilean walnut association, Chilenut.
Inshell shipments in May slipped 21% on the year to 15,400 ISE mt, while shelled shipments were down 4% at 2,036 ISE mt.
Total year-to-date Chilean shipments for the 2022 crop year, which runs from March to February, stand at 24,226 ISE mt, down 30% on the year.
But comparing this year’s shipments to last year could be misleading, a Chilean handler indicated.
“2021 was a quite unusual season,” the handler said. “The reduction of the crop estimation definitely played a big part in the fast sales and shipments.”
India continues to be a bright spot for Chilean inshell handlers, with 4,852 mt shipped to the country in May, up 26% year-on-year and more than triple the amount sent in May 2020.
Chilean packers are optimistic that June will be an even stronger month for Indian inshell shipments, as buying typically gathers pace by the second half of May.
However, exports to Turkey continue to decline as buyers in the country struggle with the Turkish lira’s depreciation against the U.S. dollar. Chile shipped 3,796 mt to Turkey in May, down 44% on last year. Turkey has historically been Chile’s strongest inshell market.
Inshell shipments to the U.A.E. – an important trans-shipment hub for local Middle East and North African markets – were up 43% on the year to 2,092 mt.
Chilean kernel shipments to Europe, its biggest market for kernel items, were down 18% year-on-year in May to 1,307 mt.
Handlers said a delayed crop and shipping bottlenecks hampered Chilean exports at the start of the new season but improving logistics means the rate of shipment is recovering.