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Fancy Jr Mam H prices rise on improved overseas demand 

December 22, 2023

The assessed Fancy Jr Mam H price rose in the global pecan market during the week ending on Friday due partly to increased demand from Asia.

Fancy Jr Mam H increased 8 cents during the December 16-22 assessment period to $4.66/lb FOB Texas, a recent high. The item traded five times during the period from $4.55/lb CIF Hong Kong to $4.79/lb CIF Asia. The item was offered multiple times from $4.50-$4.92/lb FOB Texas-equivalent.

On Friday, two Fancy Jr. Mam H trades saw 324,000 pounds bound for Asia in a full-year 2024 contract.

However, assessed Fancy Med Pcs and Fancy Lge Pcs lost 8 cents on the week as demand for pieces appeared to diminish. Fancy Med Pcs was offered twice during the period – once at $4.60/lb EXW Texas and again at $4.65/lb FOB Texas. There were no reported trades during the period for pieces.

The price moves came as shellers submitted offers for a large tender proffered by a U.S. retailer. Estimates for the tender volume ranged from 750,000 lbs to 2.5 million lbs for a mix of halves and pieces. Offers were due on Wednesday, sources said.

At least one sheller expressed concern that offers from sellers would be at low levels.

“Everyone is going to bid really low to get the high-volume contract to keep their plants going, but those low bids make it hard on all of the sellers,” a sheller in Mexico said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, U.S supply fell to 97.4 million lbs in November compared with 116.7 million lbs in the year-ago month, a 16% drop, according to the latest USDA Cold Storage report released on Friday. U.S. supply in November was the lowest for the month since 2010.

The new supply report could further encourage sellers to refrain from lowering kernel offers. In recent weeks, many sellers have said they’re trying to hold the line on kernel offers, fearing that pricing too low could destabilize the market.

“We are quoting high prices and missing business, but I’m not going to lower my prices,” a U.S. sheller said on Wednesday. “We are in it for the long run, so I’m not going to make a sale now and lose money when I don’t have to.”

Inshell

Sheller-grade inshell prices increased on the week amid mixed reports about buying from China.

Stratamarkets assessed W Wichita IS, a blend typically purchased by shellers, at $3.28/pt delivered Texas, up 3 cents/ pt on the week, based on three trades for Mexico-origin W Schley. The assessed prices for Desirable IS and Stuart IS were $3.42/pt FOB Georgia and $3.27/pt FOB Georgia on the week, respectively.

Inshell traders diverged in reports on demand from China during the period. While some inshell sellers have not made any deals with Chinese buyers in a few weeks, others say the Asian country is still buying from both the U.S. and Mexico.

“I don’t think that it’s over at all,” a U.S. inshell trader said. “And I think the prices are going to stay at the level they have been as long as China keeps buying.”

Others said the Chinese buying spree has taken a pause:

“What has happened in the last 24-48 hours is China totally backed off,” a second U.S. inshell trader said on Wednesday. “As far as I see it right now, I think they have pretty much exited the market.”

As the harvest continues in Northern Mexico and Western U.S., several sellers described plans to hold onto their inshell for as long as possible to avoid potential losses from making sales too early. Inshell sellers say they believe inshell prices will go up because of the shorter, higher-quality crop in North America this season.

Mexican growers are confident that inshell prices will rise and are making deals with shellers to hold their pecans in cold storage.

“Many of the growers are making deals with shellers they have good relationships with to store their product,” said one Mexican grower. “They have created consignment deals for storage and will close on the pricing later.”

Looking ahead

Sellers said they were looking forward to the new year, when they believe prices will go up.

New Mexico, the second-largest pecan producing state in the U.S., is about a third of the way through its harvest, which the USDA estimates will hit a record 90 million lbs this season and bring it to just 2 million lbs shy of Georgia’s crop estimate. Growers there are nearly done selling off their 2022 crop and are ready to focus on the new material.

“New Mexico is seeing its biggest crop in years, if ever,” a grower in New Mexico said.

And with year-end holidays approaching, kernel market activity was expected to slow.

“For the next two or three weeks, people will just be doing emergency fills, but that’s it,” a U.S. trader said. “Other than that, there won’t be much activity.”