The pecan market has been in a state of turmoil over the past few months with prices moving significantly at the onset of newly imposed tariffs by China. As the North American pecan harvest draws near, both pecan growers and pecan buyers are now following the market with a very close eye.
Last week in Zhuhai, China; tree nut buyers converged in a three-day conference to discuss the current outlook for various nuts in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. China as we all know is a big buyer of, well everything. The Chinese market is a very important market for most tree nuts, and of course is a major importer pecans, both in-shell and shelled. Major industry buyers met last week at the annual conference along with representatives from all of the major tree nut industries to update on the current market supply trends, current stocks available and the outlook for the future. Major industry buyers are purchasing, but buying habits are changing. Pecans buyers, in years past have already contracted much larger quantities by this time in the pecan growing season, but this year is playing out much differently. Most pecan growers are reluctant to contract pecans at current prices and pecan buyers are reluctant to contract large quantities of pecans at current prices due to uncertainty in the market. The EU is still currently a strong export market for shelled product and trending upward. In-shell and shelled pecan exports to China are down from same time last year. In-shell pecan exports to China are down 23% and shelled pecan exports to China are down 17%.
This of course takes into account exports to Hong Kong, Vietnam, and China as a whole. While this news may not sound favorable to the pecan market, there is good news. Pecan exports as a whole have increased around the world. When looking at January to June of 2017 as compared to January to June of 2018 In-shell pecan exports have increased 6% worldwide, and Shelled pecan exports have increased 2% worldwide lending to an overall increase in pecan exports of 4% worldwide. This is encouraging news for the American Pecan industry who has been actively developing pecan export markets around the globe via the US Pecan Growers Association and most recently the American Pecan Council.