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Inshell prices rise as trade activity perks 

May 13, 2024

The assessed W Wichita price jumped in the global market during the week ending on Monday due to increased sheller demand.  

Driving the move: After taking a pause, shellers said they’re buying again after determining inshell prices might not fall. Last month, the assessed W Wichita price averaged $3.40/pt FOB Texas. Its current month average price is up 5 cents from that level, according to Stratamarkets data.  

Tell me more: Trade activity for W Wichita and W Schley was active throughout the May 6-May 13 assessment period.  

One large Texas sheller bought millions of lbs of Western inshell from a handful of smaller Arizona growers this week at $3.50/pt FOB Texas, clearing a significant amount of supply from cold storage.  

“This is one of the highest prices I’ve seen shellers pay this year,” said a U.S. grower not associated with the trades. “They have to, because so many growers have told me they will keep their crop in cold storage until they get the price they want.”     

Stratamarkets did not include those sales in its W Wichita assessment on Monday because the trades were verification tier three. But even without those sales, the assessed price of W Wichita is now at the highest level it has been all crop year. Stratamarkets assessed the item at $3.50/pt CNF Texas, up 11 cents on the week. 

In the kernel market, prices for assessed halves rose as demand increased from Europe and the supply in the U.S. and Mexico continued to fall.  

Fancy Jr Mam H and Fancy Mam H each gained a dime to reach $4.67/lb FOB Texas and $4.70/lb FOB Texas, respectively. Fancy Jr Mam H is now at the highest level since April 1, while Fancy Mam H is at the highest level since Feb. 23. Both items are now well above their 24-week rolling average.    

Though halves prices rose, trade activity remained thin for those items as some shellers reported having trouble coming to price agreements with buyers. Fancy Jr Mam H has traded four times this month, compared with 13 trades in April and 32 trades in March, according to Stratamarkets data. 

A sheller in Mexico said he was seeing good demand for Fancy Jr Mam H from Europe, adding that he’s holding for now because the bids from Europe are too low. 

“I won’t be able to get my prices higher if I keep selling at lower levels,” the sheller said on Monday.       

Meanwhile, prices for pieces remained at discounts to halves due to a supply glut, sources said. Fancy Med Pcs offers ranged from $4.50-4.65/lb FOB Texas, with the offer prices rising later in the week, but there were no recorded trades for the item. And there were no trades, bids, or offers reported for Fancy Lge Pcs. The assessed price of Fancy Med Pcs stayed flat, while Fancy Lge Pcs lost a penny.  

“Pieces have been very hard to move,” the sheller in Mexico said.   

While the assessed prices of both W Wichita and Fancy Jr Mam H increased this week, the W Wichita price edged ahead slightly, shrinking the Fancy Jr Mam H price premium to W Wichita by 1 cent to $1.17.  

Look ahead 

World pecan supply is predicted to fall by 1% from 376,534 inshell equivalent (IE) mt this crop year to 372,353 IE mt during the 2024-2025 crop year, according to a slide deck presented at an industry conference in Canada last week.  

While overall crop sizes in the U.S. and Mexico should remain about the same, pecan crops in South Africa, China, and Argentina are forecast to increase. The estimate was based on data from the South African Pecan Nut Producers Association, the Brazilian Associations of Nuts and Dried Fruits, the Argentine Pecan Committee and other sources, according to the presentation deck.