After a rather volatile month, the Mintec global nut index softened by 3% in the four weeks to 19th May, although the indicator was up by 2% year-on-year (y-o-y), at USD 5,832/MT. The index fell primarily on the back of a decrease in hazelnut and almond prices.
The Mintec Benchmark Prices (MBP) of Turkish hazelnuts (Levant quality, 11/13mm) delivered on a CFR basis Northwest Europe fell by 5% in the four-week period to 3rd June, to USD 620/100kg. This culminated a fourteen-week downward trend that started on 25th February at USD 725/100kg. The hazelnut industry shares an optimistic outlook for the upcoming Turkish hazelnut crop, with only localised damage expected from the earlier spring frosts. The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) recently projected the 2021/22 Turkish hazelnut output at 790,000 tonnes, which is 60,000 tonnes more than last year. In addition, the depreciating Turkish lira continues to convert to lower prices in USD-denominated export markets.
The almond MBP (standard 5% almonds FAS US) fell USc 7/lb in the week of 19th May after the USDA published its 2021 subjective almond forecast, estimating a production growth of 3% y-o-y to 3.2 billion pounds, against most market expectations. The benchmark has since strengthened by USc 6/lb, with the last assessment made on 3rd June at USD 1.85/lb, up 3% since the May bottom but down 2% compared to the same period last year. The unwillingness from sellers to commit to trade at the recent low prices drove the market in the past couple of weeks. Sellers are anticipating the objective USDA almond forecast, due to be published in July, to be more in line with their crop expectations, boosting the market.
In the peanut market, prices of key producing origins have been mostly steady in the EU. The US peanut MBP (40/50 CIF Rotterdam) was last assessed on 4th June at USD 1,450/MT, unchanged month-on-month (m-o-m). Prices of Argentinian and Chinese origin peanuts (40/50 CIF Rotterdam) have been also stable m-o-m, at USD 1,450/MT and USD 2,100/MT respectively on 4th June. The MBP for Brazilian 40/50 peanuts, CIF Rotterdam, fell by 2% in the four weeks to 4th June, to USD 1,475/MT. There have been concerns over recent frosts in the Argentine peanut belt which has made some shellers pull back from the market while dry weather conditions in parts of the Southern US have been hindering US peanut plantings.
Brazil nut prices continue to soar, with the Brazil nut MBP CIF Rotterdam up at USD 5.25/lb on 3rd June. Prices have now more than doubled since the same time last year as the supply continues to be squeezed by supply scarcity in European warehouses following delays to the harvest in Bolivia, the largest Brazil nut producer.
In other markets, Mintec prices of East European walnuts (DDP UK) rose 5% in the four-week period to 3rd June, to EUR 5.3/KG. The Mintec Benchmark Prices of US pecans (pecan halves, Fancy grade) delivered on a CFR basis EU were up marginally by less than 1% m-o-m in the week of 3rd June, at USD 5.2/lb. On an annual basis, the pecan benchmark has risen by 2%.