Prices hit recent low as demand slows 

June 11, 2024

Prices for all assessed kernel items declined in the global pecan market during the week ending on Monday as trade activity ground to a standstill. 

All assessed halves fell by 14 cents while pieces lost 21 cents.   

Driving the moves: Demand from kernel customers in Europe remained muted as many end users are choosing less expensive nuts. Some traders there say their wholesale customers believe that prices will continue to drop, and therefore are holding off on buying.  And while U.S. shellers have raised offers, many said they’re willing to lower prices to move remaining product.   

What they’re saying: “There is very little demand in Europe,” said one U.K trader on Monday. 

Tell me more: Fancy Jr Mam H was bid at $4.45/lb FOB Texas and offered at $4.85/lb FOB Texas and $5.05/lb CFR Europe. Demand was tepid and no trades were reported during the June 3-10 assessment period. 

Trade on pieces was also quiet. Fancy Lge Pcs traded at $4.20/lb FOB Texas in the inter-sheller market. Fancy Med Pcs was offered at $4.40/lb FOB Texas and $4.60/lb CFR Europe.  

Fancy Med Pcs hit its crop year high of $4.73/lb FOB Texas three times this crop year on Nov. 24, Dec. 1 and Feb. 16, and is now 34 cents below that. Fancy Lge Pcs hit its crop year high of $4.69/lb FOB Texas on Nov. 24 and is now 35 cents below that level.  

All four assessed kernel items are now well below their 24-week rolling averages. 

Meanwhile, inshell trade activity was also quiet. W Wichita was offered from $3.50-3.60/pt FOB Texas farmgate. No trades or bids were reported.    

The supply of uncommitted inshell is low, with only a few million pounds remaining in the hands of growers, sources said.  

“We are 90% to 95% sold at this time,” a U.S. sheller said on Monday, referring to his views on the sold position of U.S. growers.    

South Africa 

South African sellers are sizing their pecans to figure out how much it has available to ship to Chinese buyers this summer. The South African crop is coming in slightly shorter than earlier forecasts and is now looking like it will top out at 31,000 tons, 4,000 tons less than expected. 

The smaller crop is showing more size variance compared with last year, with larger sizes accounting for about half of the harvest. That could prove to be a challenge for South African sellers, since Chinese buyers, who are the majority of South Africa’s customers, are mostly interested in the smaller sizes ranging from 130-155 nuts/kg.  

As they sort, South African shellers and accumulators are setting aside the larger sizes and considering whether to crack them out for kernel items. 

There were no reported sales of South African-origin crop during period. However, South Africa-origin Wichita has been trading from $5.00-5.30/kg for a 58% meat yield and 130 count/kg, $4.80-5.10/kg for the same meat yield but 155 count/kg, all CFR China with 3 cent freight rates.   

Look ahead 

The first of several growers’ associations will release its 2024 crop forecast later this month. 

The TriState ArkLaMiss Pecanference will be held in Stoneville, MS on June 20-21, where members will present their 2024 crop estimate. The next forecast is expected to be released on July 17 at the Texas Pecan Growers Association conference.  

Meanwhile, hot and dry weather conditions in the Western half of Texas are impacting this year’s pecan harvest, with some growers reporting dead and dying trees among their acreages. 

Between 180,000 and 220,000 pecan trees have died in the past two years in the state, according to one U.S grower. And many still-living trees have dead branches.  

“On some of my Wichita trees, only 20% to 30% of the tree is still alive,” said the U.S. grower on Friday.