The Mintec Benchmark Prices of Vietnamese cashews (WW320, FOB Vietnam) were assessed at $2.45/lb in the last week of August, steady month-on-month but down 9% year-on-year.
The cashew market was quiet in August, with the purchasing activity from many US and European buyers reduced due to the summer holidays in the Northern Hemisphere. Prices were steady at the bottom end of the market compared to a month ago, with good quality cashew kernels from SMETA certified suppliers offered 8-12 cents/lb above the lowest BRC offers. Mintec saw some offers from large Vietnamese shippers moving down a few cents in August.
Markets such as the Middle East and Asia continued buying nuts throughout August. Demand from China reportedly accelerated ahead of its Mid-Autumn Festival, Vietnamese exporters said, providing some price support to larger calibre nuts. This was also reportedly due to general tightness across larger-sized nuts available to Vietnamese processors. “Recently, we have seen more enquiries than before. It is looking good for the coming months, especially for larger sizes such as WW240 and WW180. After the Mid-Autumn festival, we must prepare for the New Year and Spring festivals. People have to ready their inventories before end-December,” a Chinese trader shared with Mintec.
On the demand side, cashew kernel exports from Vietnam totalled 57,200 tonnes in July 2023, down about 2,750 tonnes on the previous month, up 30% on July last year, according to data from Vinacas. In the first seven months of 2023, the country exported 336,400 tonnes of cashew kernels, up about 13% compared to the same period last year.
Kernel imports from Vietnam into the EU totalled 10,320 tonnes in June, up 5% y-o-y, an increase of 10% on the five-year average. In the first six months of 2023, the EU imported 52,700 tonnes of Vietnamese cashews, less than in 2022 (-7%) and 2021 (-3%) but more than anything before 2021. Cashew imports from Cote d’Ivoire into the EU continue to accelerate. Between January and June, the EU imported nearly 8,600 tonnes of Cote d’Ivoire-origin cashews, up 60% y-o-y.
In the US, imports of Vietnamese cashew kernels totalled 10,850 tonnes in June 2023, down 24% y-o-y, up 6% m-o-m, according to data from the USDA. Since the start of the year, the US imported 23% fewer cashews than in January-June 2022. Nonetheless, following the strong US-bound exports from Vietnam in June and July, it is likely that import volumes for August and September will improve significantly.
There are expectations that demand will increase in September as buyers look to replenish inventories from the sales they facilitated during the summer months. In addition, buyers in the EU and the US will look to cover ahead of the busy festive period, and the industry will also continue buying into next year.
“We have seen some inquiries for next year, and once people are back from holidays, they might look at their positions and book some volumes for Q4 2023. I do not expect the market to run away in September, but I think we might see a bit firmer conditions,” an Asia-based broker said in mid-August. “I am slightly optimistic about the market. European and US buyers will be back to cover inventory for Q4 2023 and 2024, looking to buy at the low prices.”
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