Cashew market moved up a few cents in Week 12 – mainly for W240 and W320 with not much change in other grades. Market undertone was firm with reasonable buying interest in these two grades but not much volume traded as there were not many sellers at the prices which buyers were willing to pay. Indian domestic market continued to be quiet but there were some indications that consuming centres are running out of inventory and may need to replenish soon.
Range of prices this week was W240 from 3.90 to 4.00, W320 from 3.35 to 3.50, W450 from 3.05 to 3.15, SW320 from 3.00 to 3.10, SW360 from 2.80 to 2.90, Splits from 2.15 to 2.25, Pieces from 1.40 to 1.50 FOB.
In all origins, RCN prices moved up. Vietnam domestic RCN prices continue to be exceptionally strong as a result of which some processors are paying high prices for early shipments from West Africa. Range of prices is Benin from 1050 to 1100, Ghana around 1050, IVC from 925 to 975 with very little buying interest at the higher end of the range.
During the last three weeks, there has been a reasonable amount of buying by US & EU traders (and some roasters) for shipments upto June/July. Most of the buyers have been been reluctant to pay the few cents premium that large shellers are looking for and therefore, most of the business has been with shellers who are selling in the lower end / middle of the current range. Despite these, the large shellers have not been willing to reduce their prices and have been able to make some sales at the higher levels.
During Apr/May, we certainly expect reasonable buying from the main importing markets. Timing of the buying (before or after RCN are purchased) and volume + period of delivery will determine the price range in which shellers will be willing to take positions.
Unless RCN prices come down significantly, we see very little chance of shellers being able to sell large volumes at lower levels for long spreads. There will always be some shellers willing (or having) to sell at lower end of the range but that will only be limited quantities for nearbys. Another reason for inability to reduce kernel offers is the low prices and slow movement of lower grades – scorched and broken. Shellers in all origins are finding it difficult to handle this new development in grades which constitute close to 40% of the yield. Long term solution to this issue would include better quality of RCN, better processing and better marketing.
An ideal situation would be for RCN prices to come down a bit during Apr/May which would enable shellers to cover some quantities and sell kernels at current levels before buying more RCN during the rest of the season. But, we do not live in an ideal world !!
The decline in RCN prices may not happen if shellers are forced to buy RCN at current high prices because they need to keep factories or because of the normal inclination to cover early arrivals (good quality). Or if the kernel demand (and prices) pick up within the next 4-6 weeks making it possible for shellers to pay the high prices.
To sum up, we continue to believe that market will remain steady to firm during 2013 with some possibility of a limited dip in Apr/May if RCN prices come down and a strong possibility of higher levels in the second half of the year.
Please inform your comments on market situation, views & forecast on demand & price trend, any news or information…. and your interest.
Pankaj N. Sampat
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