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Inshell prices climb as demand grows in local Mexican market 

April 15, 2024

The assessed W Wichita price jumped 25 cents/pt in the global pecan market during the week ending on Monday on new demand from Mexico’s hand-cracking market.  

Driving the move: Buyers in Mexico raised bids during the April 8-15 assessment period to convince sellers to depart with a shrinking supply of inshell. Sales to the local handcracked market in Mexico are trending up and expected to continue.   

Tell me more: W Wichita traded from $3.30-$3.80/pt FOB Mexico during the period. Stratamarkets assessed the item at $3.65/pt CNF Texas.  

The move caused the Fancy Jr Mam H premium to W Wichita to condense by 28 cents to 85 cents, its lowest level since Stratamarkets began tracking the spread in 2023.   

Despite the W Wichita price increase, inshell trade remained subdued. There are now less than several million pounds of inshell left in the U.S. and Mexico, growers in both countries said, following a buying spree from China early in the crop year.  

Kernel 

Most assessed kernel prices rose during the period as many shellers stopped offering.  

Fancy Mam H gained a penny during the period. A week earlier, it lost 8 cents. Fancy Med Pcs strengthened 2 cents while Fancy Lge Pcs increased by 3 cents. Last week, the items lost 22 cents and 18 cents, respectively. 

Fancy Jr Mam H was the only assessed kernel item to fall for a second week in a row. The item lost 3 cents and is now below its 24-week average. The latest decrease in Fancy Jr Mam H comes one week after the item fell 18 cents from its crop-year high of $4.71/lb FOB Texas on April 1.   

Kernel buyers continued making few inquiries on halves and pieces, but they are still seeking price levels below where shellers are willing to sell, since many shellers would have to buy more higher-priced inshell to fulfill the sales. Kernel trade during the period was thin as a result, with many U.S. and Mexican shellers focused on shifting existing orders.  

“I don’t think we will have much more to offer this season,” said one Mexican sheller on Friday. “At this stage, the spread is too thin, so why risk it?” 

In general, demand from Europe and the Middle East has slowed in the past few weeks as buyers find themselves near fully stocked. Nuts have been slow to move from retail shelves.   

“It’s going pretty slow here,” said one Dutch broker on Friday. “The demand from end users is low. They don’t understand why the prices are higher compared to the other nuts or dried fruit. It’s partially because of the Easter and Ramadan holidays, but also because the demand just isn’t there.” 

Meanwhile, market participants last week asked the USDA to open a second Section 32 purchase order for pecan kernel pieces in an effort to further reduce the supply on the market, two sources close to the matter revealed on Friday. The USDA has not yet said whether it will follow the recommendation.  

South Africa 

Sales have been slow for the South African crop, as China, traditionally the country’s biggest customer, has been reluctant to buy. There were no sales of South African pecan product reported to Stratamarkets during the assessment period.   Many South African sellers will be heading to the China Nut Expo in the city of Hefei this week and are hoping to make sales and a feel for overall demand there.