Halves prices continue to rise on strong international demand

March 25, 2024

Assessed prices for Fancy Jr Mam H and Fancy Mam H rose in the global pecan market during the week ending on Monday in active trade on demand from export markets. 

Fancy Jr Mam H rose 5 cents during the March 18-25 assessment period, the third consecutive week of gains for the item, which is now far above its 24-week average. Fancy Mam H climbed 4 cents. 

Driving the moves: Increased international demand for halves paired with falling kernel supply helped to bolster prices of the items.  

“Most of the halves are sold internationally, and there has been a lot of sales on the spot market to Asian and Middle Eastern countries,” said one U.S. sheller on Monday.  

Trade activity was lively for halves. Fancy Jr Mam H traded 10 times and Fancy Mam H traded four times during the period.   

There were a few large-volume trades for Fancy Jr Mam H, including one for 202,500 lb at $4.55/lb FOB Texas for April to June shipment. The item also traded at $4.67/lb CFR Hamburg for 162,000 lbs shipping prompt.  

Fancy Mam H traded for smaller volumes.  Pieces trade remained thin, with just one Fancy Lge Pcs transaction at $4.70 CNF Malaysia and no trades reported for Fancy Med Pcs.  

Kernel supply & demand 

The falling supply of halves is partly the result of lower-quality inshell: Shellers can’t find the quality they need to make halves.  

“We had some weather things here with high heat and no rainfall, and that created some quality issues that made it harder to get those halves sizes,” one U.S. grower said on Monday.  

Some kernel sellers expressed frustration as buyers made plenty of inquiries but didn’t purchase.  

“There is nothing firm, just indications,” said a U.S. trader on Monday. “Buyers are kicking tires, but not buying.”  

The U.S. trader said that volume trading has been light, with mostly spot purchases coming from international markets.  

“Most of these markets are hand-to-mouth right now,” said the U.S. trader. “With Ramadan buying over, there’s no real holiday to pin consumption to.”

Some sellers have been seeing more activity as others have quit offering either because prices are too low or because they don’t have material to cover existing contracts.   

“We have been getting a lot more inquiries the past week,” said a second U.S. trader. “I think it might be because other shellers aren’t offering.”     

In addition to overseas demand, sellers continued to see demand from shellers trying to cover contracts.    

Inshell market 

The remaining supply of uncommitted inshell is continuing to dwindle throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Unofficial surveys from growers say there are approximately 1 million lbs left uncommitted in Georgia, and about 15 to 17 million lbs remaining in the Western growing states and Mexico.  

Stratamarkets assessed W Wichita at $3.40/pt CNF Texas, down 2 cents from last week. There were six reported trades of W Wichita and W Schley from $3.30-$3.50/pt CNF Texas equivalent.   

There were no reported trades, offers, or bids of Desirable or Stuart varieties.  

Driving the moves: Although there is very little uncommitted inshell still in the U.S. and Mexico, growers are finding it difficult to sell at their current offer levels.  

“The first quarter has been rough,” said a second U.S. grower on Friday. “There was substantial movement in mid-to-late February, but in the last 30 days, the market has been stagnant.” 

Most of the inshell inquiries are coming from shellers looking for material to crack out, but shellers are telling growers that they will either hold off on purchases or lower their bids.  

“[Shellers] are telling me. ‘I don’t need them now, but I need them later. If you need to sell them now, I’m going to offer you a low price,’” the second U.S. grower said.