Cashew trade sees no big price drop, hereon

GK Nair

Kochi, October 27

The cashew kernel market of late has witnessed a slightly easier trend with the price of W320 slipping to $4.75-5 per lb (fob) from the $5-5.25 range earlier this month.

Last week, offers, on limited activity, were (all per lb fob) for W240 $4.90-5.15; W320 $4.75-5; W450 $4.70-4.90; SW $4.50-4.70; Splits $4.40-4.60; Pieces $3.65-3.80.

“Small and medium processors were selling at whatever prices they could as they needed a quick turnover and were unable to make forward sales,” Pankaj N Sampat, a Mumbai-based dealer, told BusinessLine.

He said that the first half of 2017 witnessed a record rise in Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) prices to $2,450 a tonne and $5.25/kg for W320.

RCN from Guinea Bissau/Senegal/Gambia, which were being traded at the highs of $2,400-50 c&f a tonne, dropped to $2,200-50 now, he said.

Indonesia RCN, which was trading at around $2,450 by end-August/early September, is down to $2,350 a tonne, he said.

The Tanzanian RCN crop is reportedly good. Some pre-auction business has taken place at $2,350 a tonne down from $2,450.

Higher exports

India’s share of imports has been declining the last two years whereas exports in 2017 are better than 2016 though still significantly lower than 2015, trade sources said.

For Vietnam, both imports and exports are rising. Trade sources speculate either a big drop in Vietnam crop, a big inventory or error in statistics.

According to Sundaran Prabha, former Chairman, Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), more than half the factories have been closed for over a year now. Higher RCN prices coupled with a jump in the processing cost has led to the drop in exports.

Prices of almonds, walnuts, pecans have increased from the low levels seen in 2016/early 2017. Prices of some other nuts like Macadamia and Brazil Nuts are steady at higher levels. Cashews are below the peak of mid-2017 and close to the average of 2016, Pankaj said.

Price outlook

The cashew trade does not see any big decline from the current price range unless there is a big fall in activity in kernels in the last quarter 2017 or the first quarter of 2018.

“In such an event, processors will slow their buying leading to lower RCN prices. And if the 2018 North crop is normal, we could see a big drop in prices in the second quarter of 2018,” he said.

Any spurt in kernel buying in the next 3-4 months would lead to a jump in prices as processors would have to rush to buy RCN. Prices could move up again to the $5-5.25 range and stay there till the 2018 crop is out.

Published on October 27, 2017
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