Prices soften as focus turns to new crop trade 

September 11, 2023

Prices for assessed kernel items shipping from the 2022 crop declined in the global pecan market during the week ending Friday as sellers showed increased interest in moving inventory before the new crop arrives.

Fancy Jr Mam H lost 13 cents during the September 2 to September 8 assessment period, falling below its 24-week average. The item has swung sharply in recent weeks on thin trade. The Fancy Med Pcs premium to Fancy Jr Mam H ended the week at 11 cents, above its 24-week average.

Sellers reported receiving inquiries for spot containers shipping from the 2022 crop as buyers sought product for fall commitments. “We still need to cover a little bit from old crop before the end of this year,” a buyer in Europe said on August 30.

Inshell shipping from the 2022 crop traded at $3.50/pt levels and lower, a U.S. sheller said. Additional details on the trades were not reported. Inshell assessments were left unchanged.

Meanwhile, new crop trade activity increased. 

One load of Mexico-origin Fancy Jr Mam H that will ship from the 2023 crop traded at $4.40/lb FOB Texas during the assessment period. The item has also traded at higher levels in recent weeks. Some shellers said they were valuing new crop Fancy Jr Mam H at parity or marginal premiums to current crop. In Europe, new crop Fancy Jr Mam H was offered from $4.70-$4.89/lb FCA Rotterdam levels for full containers shipping from January to December 2024. 

Ten loads of Desirable traded at $1.85/lb (3.56/pt) FOB Georgia and 5 loads of Stuart traded at $1.65/lb ($3.44/pt) FOB Georgia. Both transactions were confirmed on September 1 for shipment from the 2023 crop in November.

Looking Ahead

Production from Mexico’s new crop was forecast to reach 313 million lbs this year, according to a preliminary estimate released on Friday from Comenuez, a grower group in Mexico. The estimate is down 3% from the group’s forecast last year.

In Mexico’s top three pecan producing states, the forecast shows a drop in production from Chihuahua and Sonora but an increase from Coahuila. The group is expected to release its final estimate in November. 

Hot, dry weather in Mexico throughout the growing season has presented challenges to forecasting the crop size this year, a grower in Mexico who led the crop forecast said. “I’ve been in this game for 34 years, and this has been the driest I’ve seen it,” the grower said on Friday.

Growers are expected to start shaking trees in Sonora this week. The start of harvest activities was expected to spark trade activity.  

In the U.S., crop observers lowered their estimates of pecan production from Georgia after Hurricane Idalia ran through the southern and coastal regions of the state on August 30.  

The storm swept nuts from branches, broke limbs, and uprooted thousands of trees. The full extent of crop loss won’t be known until harvest, according to a September 1 report from the University of Georgia.

“In the hardest hit areas, it is approaching the Michael scale,” the report said, referring to the 2018 hurricane. “Those that got it, got hit bad, but from a state perspective the damage is far less than Michael.”