Kernel prices fall even with US stocks at decade lows 

October 2, 2023

Prices for most assessed kernel items shipping from the 2022 crop declined in the global pecan market during the week ending on Friday as buyers in China purchased several million lbs of new crop inshell from Georgia.

The need for cash to fund ongoing operations drove selling interest for 2022 crop halves and pieces during the September 23-29 assessment period, prompting most prices to soften. Fancy Jr Mam H lost a penny on the week while Fancy Med Pcs shed 4 cents.

However, the assessed Fancy Lge Pcs price jumped 19 cents based on trades at $4.43/lb FOB Texas and $4.65/lb FOB Texas. The price rise left the item valued at a 7-cent premium to Fancy Jr Mam H and and a 1-cent discount to Fancy Med Pcs.

2022 crop trade

Trade appeared more active for halves compared with pieces during the assessment period. Fancy Mam H traded three times from $4.45-$4.65/lb FOB Texas equivalent prices. The trades averaged $4.53/lb FOB Texas, a 6-cent premium to Fancy Jr Mam H. Shellers have said they have larger supplies of Mammoth Halves compared with the smaller Junior Mammoth Halves. Fancy Jumbo H traded at $4.45/lb FOB Texas.

Trade for Fancy-grade pieces was also active with transactions reported from $4.43-$4.75/lb FOB Texas for Fancy Med Pcs and Fancy Lge Pcs.  Supply of pieces has been tight for months.

Some shellers expressed disappointment that more product wasn’t selling given the current low prices, particularly for halves. “If you look at where the price point is now and the amount of movement we’ve had, it’s not good,” a U.S. sheller said on Friday.

No trades were reported for inshell shipping from the 2022 crop. Sellers in Georgia were mostly sold out, an inshell trader there said on Friday.

2023 crop trade

Transactions between China and Georgia during the assessment period were confirmed at $3.35-$3.60/pt FOB Georgia farmgate levels for product that will ship in October and November from the new crop. Specific varieties and volume were not reported but total volumes traded reached several million lbs, the inshell trader said.

“Demand from China is bigger than it’s been since the start of the trade wars,” the trader said, referring to tariffs imposed by the U.S. and China beginning in 2018.

Meanwhile, negotiations continued between Mexico and China for new crop Wichita IS with a 58% meat yield and a 50 nut count/lb. Bids for the item that will ship from the state of Sonora from the 2023 crop were at $5/kg ($3.91/pt) FOB Mexico farmgate with offers at $5.20/kg ($4.07/pt) FOB Mexico farmgate, sources close to the negotiations said.

In the U.S. market, multiple full truck loads (FTLs) of new crop Pawnee IS for the gift pack market traded at $4.20/pt FOB Georgia. Ten to 15 FTLs of the item will begin shipping from Georgia in the coming days. Growers began shaking Pawnee-variety trees in Georgia last week, the inshell trader said.

New crop kernel prices were seen at roughly parity to 2022 crop prices. Fancy Mam H traded at $4.50/lb FOB Texas. No trades were reported for Fancy Jr Mam H, but the item was offered from $4.30-$4.70/lb FOB Texas equivalent prices for December and forward shipment periods.

Fancy Med Pcs traded at $4.75/lb FOB Texas for January to December 2024 shipment but was also offered as low as $4.60/lb FOB Texas for the same shipment period. Most shellers said they were not offering kernel items shipping from the new crop and were not seeing much demand, either.

“Mid-October is usually the earliest where I would expect to start seeing the market forming,” a second U.S.-based sheller wrote in a text message.

Cold storage report

U.S. inventory fell to 158 million ISE (Inshell Equivalent) lbs in August, down 19% from the year-ago month and the lowest level for August since 2012, according to the most recent USDA Cold Storage report released on Monday. From July to August, inventory in the U.S. declined by 16% from 189 million ISE lbs. The fall in stocks was unlikely to affect prices unless crops from the U.S. and Mexico are delayed, a third U.S. sheller said.

“At the moment, the market has baked in these numbers,” the sheller said on Monday. “The only thing that is going to change it will be if we are way off on upcoming supply numbers.”