The Mintec Category Index (MCI) for Global nuts shed another 2% of its value in the week ending 27th January, falling to USD 5,017/MT. The index declined by USD 322/MT in the four-week period to 27th January (-6%), while on an annual basis, the index is down by 16%. The latest contraction has been primarily driven by weakening almond and cashew prices.
The Mintec Benchmark Prices (MBP) for cashew nuts (W320) FOB Vietnam fell by 3% in the four weeks to 5th February, to USD 2.95/lb. The market peaked on 23rd September last year at USD 3.15/lb, remaining relatively flat between October and December. Since the end of December, the benchmark fell by USD 0.15/lb (-3%), following discounts made on prompt shipments by Vietnamese cashew processors, amidst the lack of container capacity and soaring shipping rates from Southeast Asia. The MBP is expected to remain relatively steady over the next two-week period due to the upcoming Tet Holiday in Vietnam.
In terms of cashew exports, Vietnam exported 511,000 tonnes of cashews last year, 12% more than in 2019, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade. Exports in December 2020 reached 47,000 tonnes, an increase of 2.3% compared to December 2019. The Ministry anticipates the 2021 export volumes to be further stimulated through the recently signed free trade agreements with the EU and the UK.
The MBP for US almonds (5% standards, FAS US) has retreated from a five-month high of USD 2.0/lb in the week ending 15th January, with the benchmark last assessed on 5th February at USD 1.92/lb, down 1.5% month-on-month (m-o-m) and a decline of 30% year-on-year (y-o-y). The latest fall in prices has been in part due to slower demand from European buyers, due to the re-escalation of COVID-19 cases across EU member states.
In other markets, the hazelnut MBP (levant quality 11/13, CFR EU) rose 1.4% in the four weeks to 5th February, primarily supported by the strengthening Turkish lira. The Brazil nut MBP was up 4% m-o-m on 5th February, at USD 2.60/lb. This is still 9% below the February 2020 levels. The Mintec Benchmark Prices for Eastern European origin walnuts delivered on a DDP basis to the UK rose 1% m-o-m and 7% q-o-q to USD 5.89/kg on 5th February, however, the benchmark is still down 10% y-o-y.