Agri Business

Cashew prices firm amid low volumes

G K Nair Kochi | Updated on March 19, 2012 Published on March 19, 2012

cashew

The cashew market during the past couple of weeks showed reasonable activity with no change, more or less, in the prices.

However, slight softness was seen in some grades while others were slightly firmer. Last week prices were in the range of $3.65 to $3.80 per lb for W240, $3.25 to $3.40 for W240, $3.00 to $3.15 for W450, $3.10 to $3.20 for SW320, $2.85 to $3.00 for SW360, $2.25 to $2.35 for Splits, $2.30 to $2.40 for Butts and $2.00 to $2.10 for Pieces.

Meanwhile, in the Indian domestic market, prices showed an upward trend with a 15 per cent increase for wholes and 25 per cent for brokens. But the volume traded was not large, Mr Pankaj Sampat a Mumbai-based dealer told Business Line.

Activity in the world cashew market has been slow and lacklustre for several months now. During this period prices have drifted significantly by about 30 per cent from $4.65-$4.70 to $3.25-$3.40 per lb. Now, there is reasonable buying interest from some markets at the lower end of the current range but volume traded is very small, he said.

Any offers at the lower levels are being picked up but since there is uncertainty about demand trends, buyers are not willing to pay 3-5 per cent more that reliable shellers are asking for large volume and spread shipments. Similarly, shellers are not willing to sell any big quantities at lower end of the range as there are no signs that RCN prices will come down significantly from current levels.

The year 2011 was difficult for all nuts except maybe almonds which had a good crop and reasonably steady prices for most of the year. This coupled with good marketing has meant increased visibility for almonds in the snack segment, in addition to its traditional ingredient strength. Since the end of 2011/beginning of 2012, prices for most nuts including cashews are back to reasonable levels. Supply position also seems to be comfortable unless something dramatic happens in the next 2-3 months such as adverse weather or reduced collection due to lower prices. “Unless financial/economic situation worsens, we can expect an improvement in usage in the coming months – definitely in Asia and maybe in Europe/US”, Mr Pankaj predicted.

RCN market quiet

Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) arrivals have started in all origins but still very slow. Prices for India and Vietnam RCN are very high at around $1,200 to $1,300 a tonne (dried). African RCN being quoted at around $1,200 for Tanzania, around $950 to $1,000 for Benin and around $850 to $875 for Ivory Coast (IVC). Shipments from Benin/IVC expected to start in few weeks. By middle of April, we should have better idea of crop prospects and RCN price trend, he said

For the time being there is nothing on the horizon to change the expectation of market movement – moving sideways in a narrow range for next 2-3 months, with possibility of some upward movement later in the year. If kernel demand in second quarter is slow, “we could see prices drifting a little bit more but downside is limited unless RCN prices come down significantly below 750 dollars”. If crop collection and kernel activity is normal, prices will remain in the current range during second quarter and should move up slowly from the third quarter as demand can be expected to pick up, he added.

Published on March 19, 2012
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