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Fancy Mam H rises as most kernel, inshell prices steady or fall 

April 29, 2024

Most assessed kernel items leveled off or fell in the global pecan market during the week ending on Monday as demand continued to disappoint sellers.   

Demand for prompt-shipment kernel remained light during the April 22-29 assessment period, particularly for pieces, which led the fall. Fancy Med Pcs gave up 18 cents on the week while Fancy Lge Pcs remained unchanged. Kernel trade was thin during the period. 

“There isn’t a lot of movement,” said one U.S. broker on Monday. “Everyone I talk to says it’s very slow. There isn’t a lot of business going on.” 

Tell me more: Assessed halves prices moved in mixed directions. Fancy Mam H jumped 16 cents to $4.66/lb FOB Texas. The average assessed price of the item has dropped considerably since March 25 when Stratamarkets assessed it at $4.68/lb FOB Texas, but it is now nearly back up to that original level.   

The assessed Fancy Jr Mam H lost 6 cents to $4.60/lb FOB Texas. There were only three recorded trades for the item.  

The recent bout of thin kernel demand could be partly the result of strong shipments to overseas markets earlier in the crop year. From October 2023 to February 2024, U.S. pecan exporters shipped 36 million inshell equivalent lbs (IE lbs), up 8% from the year-ago period, according to data from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). 

The price moves followed an announcement from the USDA on Thursday that it has reassigned awards for its purchase of nearly 3.3 million lbs of pieces to other companies after the company that initially won the award failed to fulfill the contract. Those reassignments had been in limbo for nearly two months. 

“The vendor who had received the largest share of the purchase informed (the USDA) that they had made a pricing error in their bid,” a USDA spokesperson wrote Thursday in an email to Stratamarkets. “As a result, their award was rescinded and, per the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the next lowest bidders were awarded the contract.” 

The shipping dates for those awards are between April and August.  

Inshell 

A Chinese buyer purchased 660,000 lbs of W Schley inshell from a cooperative of Mexican growers at $3.60/pt FOB Mexico during the assessment period.   

That sale was for inshell with a yield of 57% and a nut count of 75 per lb, which is larger than kernel sizes found in most shelling-grade stock. Because of that, the trade was not used in the weekly assessment process.  

The purchase from Mexican growers comes just one week after a broker purchased what is believed to be most of the remaining uncommitted supply of U.S. Eastern-variety pecan stock from growers in Georgia.  

Mexican growers have also continued to sell to the local Mexican hand-cracking market, relying on the price of the peso versus the dollar being stronger than usual. There was a reported sale of W Schley at $3.60/pt FOB Mexico this week that went to that market.   

Stratamarkets assessed W Wichita at $3.40/pt CNF Texas, flat for the fifth week in a row. 

Cold storage report 

The latest USDA Cold Storage Report, which was released on Wednesday, shows U.S. pecan stocks at the end of March at 276.1 million IE lbs, up 4.2% over the same period last year. That includes 84 million IE lbs of kernel and 191.9 million lbs of inshell.      

While the total quantity in cold storage is up from last year, it remains at a low level compared with previous years. In the past decade, March stocks in cold storage have averaged 290 million IE lbs, according to USDA data.   The lower-than-average cold storage numbers are leading some shellers to believe that the carry-out for the current crop year could be between 124-135 million lbs, similar to last year’s carry-out of 124.4 million (IE lbs), and that some shellers will have to rely on new crop for the final months of year-long contracts.