Chandler walnut prices are rising in California. The Chandler variety is the most sought after and due to the shorter-than-expected crop and strong demand and shipments, there is now only very limited supply available. Demand for Chandler in-shell in recent weeks has been particularly strong from the Middle East, where importers are eager to receive shipments ahead of Ramadan, now just a few months away.
Many packers are finished with in-shell altogether while others have some non-chandler varieties available. Due to the shortages of Chandler, many packers are cracking the Howard variety for light walnut halves and pieces (LHP).
California in-shell walnut shipments in December were extremely robust. Coming in at 55MM lbs., the figure exceeded last year by 54% and prior years by a substantial margin.
After a slow start to California in-shell walnut shipments -- largely due to the delayed harvest this year -- shipments rebounded considerably in December. For September and October, total in-shell shipments lagged the prior year by 24% but after the strong shipments in November and December, total shipments are down only 3% versus last year.
The top in-shell markets receiving less tonnage compared to last year include China + Hong Kong (12.5 MM lbs), India (6.1), Vietnam (6.1), USA (3.2), Germany (2.6) and Spain (1.3). So far this year, tariffs and trade uncertainties are clearly weighing heavily on Asian in-shell walnut imports this year from California. The U.A.E. is posting strong in-shell shipments compared to last year which we expect to continue in the coming months for pre-Ramadan stocking. Turkey and Italy are both just ahead of last year’s shipments from September 1st to December 31st. Pakistan, up 468%, is serving as a conduit to India so importers can avoid expensive tariffs on Indian imports of California in-shell walnuts. Together, India and Pakistan have imported 21 MM lbs, up 15% over last year so the demand in the region continues to be robust.
On the kernel side, total shipments are stable. According to data from the California Walnut Board, shelled shipments from September 1st to December 31st totaled 158 MM lbs which is down only 1% versus last year. Germany is posting historically weak numbers on shelled as well as in-shell imports of California walnuts so far this year. Compared to the prior year period, Germany is down 47% or 11.2 MM lbs on shelled California walnuts. Chile may be playing a more significant role in European markets as the Chilean walnut crop grows in size and the origin is better positioned to serve German and other markets.
We work with California’s top walnut packers to supply our customers with Jumbo and Jumbo / Large (J/L) in-shell Chandler, Howard, Hartley, Vina, Tulare, Serr and other varieties. We also provide bleached in-shell walnuts in addition to California shelled product including Chandler and non-Chandler Light Halves & Pieces (LHP) 20%, 40%, 80% and higher based on customer requirements.
Bulk California raisin shipments totaled 16K MT in December 2018, which is stable on a month-over-month basis based on data from the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC).
Export shipments in December were relatively strong at 5.6K packed tons, up 19% compared to the prior month and marked the strongest month of export shipments for the new crop. On the domestic side, December shipments totaled 10.2K, which is down 12% compared to November and 3.5K from domestic shipments of 13.7K in October. So far, from August 1st to December 31st, California Natural Seedless raisin shipments totaled 79K which is 35% lower than last year when shipments totaled 122K over the same period.
We supply all major bulk California raisins including dried-on-the-vine (DOV) and tray-dried Natural Thompson Seedless Selects, Selma Petes, Flames, Goldens, and other varieties in Jumbo, Select, and Midget sizes and welcome your inquiries. We also supply Selma Pete DOV Double-Run Supreme raisins to Japan and elsewhere which are processed twice to achieve exceptionally low stem and capstem counts.
In the Sweet and Dried Cranberry (SDC) markets the tariffs that have created hurdles for some of the other major commodities from the United States have had little effect in slowing China’s growing appetite for these sweet berries. Similarly, Canada and Chile are likely to see increasing demand for cranberries due to the ongoing tariff escalations between the USA and some of its major export markets.
We have seen continued upward pressure on prices for conventional sliced SDCs over the past few months with little relief likely in the near term. SDC producers are very much in the driver’s seat this season with many opting to sell their berries at higher prices than we have seen in a number of years. It seems the supply and demand dynamics that the USDA volume regulation was meant to address may have had some effect in stabilizing the price of sliced Sweetened Dried Cranberries. This more stable market position should keep prices high for the foreseeable future. Next year, if the USDA volume regulation is not needed and the tariff situation between the United States and China becomes more favorable, global demand is likely to still keep pace with global supply for sliced Sweetened Dried Cranberries (SDCs) which will in turn, continue to support higher prices.
We supply Conventional and Organic Whole or Sliced Sweetened Dried Cranberries (SDCs) packed in bulk cases as well as Organic Apple Juice Sweetened varieties. We also work with quarter inch diced and other diced cranberry products available as per client requirement. In addition, we supply 50 Brix and 65 Brix cranberry concentrate shipped in bulk 55 gallon drums.
In California almonds, the latest Position Report showed December shipments of 199 MM lbs in 2018 vs. 204 MM lbs in 2017, down approximately 2%. There was an almost 10% decrease between the carry-in as of August 1st compared to last year. Lower carry-in was offset by increased planted acreage which has resulted in a total supply for this crop year that is only down about 1% or 40 million lbs. Total committed shipments in December for exports were notably down about 17% vs last year while domestic committed shipments for December were up 5% compared to last year. Purchasing demand is likely to remain strong for the next few weeks as producers continue to ship and sell the 2019 crop in earnest.
Our most popular almond varieties are Nonpareil, Independence, Butte/Padre, and Carmel types with the most popular grades of Supreme, Extra, Standard 5%, and more.
We work with a number of other products so please reach out if you have an inquiry for something you do not see here. We are experts in sourcing bulk food ingredients and welcome the opportunity to work with you on your inquiries. Some of our other product offerings include sunflower seeds, lentils, green peas, freeze dried fruits, popcorn, dried cherries, dried apples, dried blueberries, cherry concentrate, quinoa, dried honey dates, dried cherry tomatoes, dried gojis, dried kiwis, dried strawberries, chickpeas, chia seeds, dried mulberries, almonds, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, pecans, brazil nuts, pumpkin seed kernels, melon kernels, hazelnuts, dried prunes, golden raisins, sultanas, dried apricots, sweet apricot kernels, dried black currants, dried figs, dried dates, popcorns, maraschino cherries, dried tomatoes, strawberry pie filling, blueberry pie filling, cherry pie filling, dried mangoes, dried gingers, dried pineapple, and desiccated coconut.
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