The Mintec Benchmark Prices (MBP) of Brazil nuts (mediums) delivered on a CIF Rotterdam basis were last assessed on 18th February at USD 2.85/lb, an increased of 10% month-on-month. The market has been steadily firming since September last year, when the benchmark bottomed at USD 2.25/lb. On a year-on-year basis, the market is unchanged, close to multi-year lows despite the most recent rally.
Stocks in the EU are currently very tight, with the 2020 crop more or less sold out. A European Brazil nut importer noted: ‘There is almost nothing left in the EU. What is still up for sale comes with a higher premium.’ Consequently, demand for Brazil nuts in the EU has picked up in the past few weeks, especially as it has become apparent that the new season in Bolivia, the world’s largest Brazil nut producer, would be delayed this year.
Below-average precipitation in November 2020 in prominent growing areas of the Bolivian jungle delayed the nut drop. In addition, amid the subdued market prices, factories and collectors took longer to negotiate on the new raw material price.
The situation in Bolivia is further complicated by COVID-19 restrictions as well as curbs on lending, as Bolivian banks are not so forthcoming amid the pandemic environment and the subdued market. In September last year, the Brazil nut market had fallen to its lowest since November 2009, pressured down by weak demand.
The earliest new season crop shipments from Bolivia are anticipated to arrive in the EU in April.