01 JUNE 2021
After moving sideways in Q1-2021, Cashew market started moving up in April 2021.
Vietnam W320 moved up from 2.70-2.90 range in Feb/Mar 2021 to the current range of 3.15-3.30 FOB. Broken grades moved up faster – WS from 1.60-1.80 to 2.20-2.30 and LP from 1.00-1.10 to 1.65-1.75 FOB.
Indian market has not moved much in 2021 although there were some short lived dips in the prices from small / medium processors when there was lull in domestic demand. For most of the year so far, W320 have been in the range of 3.50-3.70 FOB except for some stray sales in the 3.30-3.50 FOB range.
African processors are increasing their presence in the market. They have been able to sell at prices slightly higher than Vietnam. Apart from better quality (single origin RCN processed in origin), there is the advantage of lower freight (at least for the time being).
RCN prices started moving up a bit earlier (early Mar). They have moved up from a low of 1050-1150 in Feb to current range of 1250-1500 C&F.
During SH of May, market for both RCN & kernels seems to have stabilised and market is quiet. Mainly because buyers who covered reasonable volume in April and early May are now taking a breather to see consumption trends in their market & how market moves in coming weeks.
The 2021 Northern crop is still being collected and shipped. It is difficult to get a realistic crop figure till physical movement figures are available (the match is not over till the last ball is bowled !!). But, it appears that total World Production may be the same as 2020 although it is almost certain that Vietnam crop will be lower than 2020 bumper crop. Logistics problems in Africa and reduced Indian processing due to covid restrictions will mean that RCN arrivals into Vietnam and India will be spread over a longer period, something similar to 2020. Cambodia RCN production is the Black Swan – it will be interesting to see what ripples it makes in the market this year (and later on).
Consumption in all markets (except India) grew significantly in 2020. Q1-2021 figures show that growth trend is continuing – maybe slightly slower in some markets.. Indian consumption was coming back to normal in last 2 quarters but recent Covid surge is causing concern about Q2-2021 consumption in India. Hopefully, things will pick up after July.
Logistics from Asia to Europe & USA continues to be a challenge. Freight rates which seemed to be softening in March have again started moving up. Currently, freight from Vietnam is about $ 6000 for Europe and over $ 7500 to USA. Even at these high rates, it is difficult to get containers / space on vessels. If this situation continues, we will see greater divergence in destination & origin prices due to product being in the wrong place. Spot prices in USA & EU have already moved up quite a bit in Mar/Apr 2021 and are steady at the higher levels.
Going forward, we do not see any major change in market trend this year. There might be a dip when RCN arrivals in Vietnam are at peak. But since a bulk of the RCN has been traded and there is not much unsold, processors may not be willing to sell any significant additional quantities at lower prices. They will sell only if / when they absolutely need to sell to pay for the RCN purchased.
It is always difficult to predict which way prices will move. Specially in current situation when there are so many challenges – Covid impact on economies + supply + processing + demand, logistic challenges on movement of RCN & finished product + quantities available for processing in Asia, etc.
My feeling is that downside during 2021 is limited. Unless there is any big fall in consumption in Q2-2021 (which seems unlikely), we feel that continued buying by all markets will provide a floor to the market. And there is a good chance that prices may move up a bit – slowly – in SH-2021.
Looking further ahead, here is some food for thought :
– End 2018 stocks were very high (probably the highest) because the Tanzania crop did not move.
– End 2019 stocks were probably high as well because only part of the 2 Tanzania crops was processed by end 2019.
– End 2020 stocks were lower – built up inventory got used up as evidenced by significant increase in Vietnam kernel exports in 2019 & 2020.
– If kernel export growth continues (even if it is slower), we will see further reduction of stocks by end 2021.
– This could mean upward pressure on prices (RCN as well as kernels) either by end 2021 / early 2022 after 4 years of decline (W320 price was around 4.75 at end of 2017, around 3.75 at end of 2018, around 3.25 at end of 2019 and around 3.00 at end of 2020).
Would appreciate your comments on current market situation, your views on prospects of demand & market movement and any other information.
And when you want to buy or sell, please remember my contact details : +91 98200 79015 and email@example.com
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai & San Francisco
Phone +91 98200 79015/+ 1 415 881 0633
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