Agri Business

African raw cashew prices drop on slack demand

G.K. Nair Kochi | Updated on November 15, 2017


The cashew market last week witnessed limited activities as the buyers were keen to buy at the lowest range of prices, while the sellers were hesitant.

Demand at higher levels were only for small quantity. Consequently, the prices remained unchanged; W240 were from $3.70 to $3.90; W320 from $3.30 to $3.45; W450/SW320 from $3.15 to $3.30; SW360 from $2.85 to $3.00; splits and butts from $2.30 to $2.40 and pieces from $2.05 to $2.15/lb (f.o.b.).

Buying interest

“There was good buying interest at the lower end of the range but only a few processors were selling at those levels.

Some processors were able to sell at the top end of the range but again, the volume was small.

“Most of the business were for nearbys but some were done for April forwards as well,” Mr Pankaj N. Sampat, a Mumbai-based dealer told Business Line.

Raw cashew nuts

Prices for India and Vietnam raw cashew nuts (RCN) are very high.

On the back of negligible buying interest, African RCN offers came down with Tanzania offering at $1,250 a tonne (c&f), Benin and Ghana from $950 to $1,000 (c&f) and Ivory Coast (IVC) at around $850 (c&f).

“We feel these prices can only be taken as indicators and real prices will be known only when movements start in end March/early April. We do not expect RCN prices to come down too much, unless all the northern crops are good,” he said.

In the last couple of weeks, there has been some business in the US and Europe for delivery April forwards but the volumes traded have not been very large. Most buyers want to see the trend of retail off-take before taking on large positions for forwards.

Also, they feel that with the large northern crops starting in a few weeks, prices should ease. Shellers are also not in a hurry to make any large sales until they have an idea of 2012 RCN pricing.

Demand scene

If the demand remains slow in March/April, it is possible that kernel prices could drift lower by another 5-10 per cent during the peak arrival season, but “we feel that such a decline would be temporary”. Current kernel prices are below the 2011 average and close to the 2010 average and if prices go down by another five per cent they will be below 2010 average, he said.

The lower levels can be sustained only if the RCN prices come down substantially (keeping in mind that processing costs which are about 40 per cent of current kernel price are unlikely to go down).

Usage in 2011 was significantly lower than 2010 in most markets, including India, due to higher prices, reduced availability amid tough economic/financial situation in Europe and the US.

“Things are improving in the US and if there is no further deterioration in Europe, we can expect usage in these two regions to pick up in second half of the year. Lower prices will certainly push up usage in Asia. Overall, we would not be surprised if 2012 usage is higher than 2011,” the trade claimed.

Predicting prices for any commodity at any time is difficult and more so in current situation, when there are so many uncertainties, especially on external factors.

“But, we would like to set the ball rolling for a poll on the 2012 price range. We feel that for most of the year kernel prices will be in the $3.25-3.75/lb range.

“Drop to $3 or below will be temporary unless there is a big crisis and demand does not pick up at all.

“Rise to $4 or above will happen only if there is big problem in northern crops with RCN prices moving up from current levels,” Mr Pankaj said.

Published on February 27, 2012

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