Pecan harvest in North America has begun with early varieties trickling into the cleaners and onto the open market for bidding. Early prices show signs of a stronger opening market than last year, with natives from Mexico being shipped to US pecan shellers at similar prices as last year in $1.10 to $1.30 (per US LB) range for in-shell. The Pawnee prices in the US have begun to trickle in with a slight bump from last years opening prices. Early pecan varieties have traditionally commanded stronger prices as buyers are eager to get new crop pecans on the shelves for customers, and are willing to pay a premium for them.
Another change from last years opening in-shell market is the fact that Chinese pecan buyers are back in the market. The trade war that started last year between the US and China prompted many Chinese buyers to sit out of the opening market as the trade war continued to escalate over the same time period, pushing tariffs on American Pecans from 7% to just under 50% when entering China. Many shipments of American ag products were also blocked at the ports causing products to spoil as they were forced to sit as the two governments continued to escalate the trade war becoming more entrenched in their own positions. Fast forward to today, and little has changed, as American Pecans still have a 47% tariff. However the trade war has begun to de-escalate slightly, for now, as the two governments have begun to negotiate slightly more peacefully.
American Pecan exports have fared well during the past year despite the trade war with what used to be the largest export customer, China. Pecan exports from the US have continued to increase along with domestic consumption. Despite increasing exports and consumption, pecan prices on the farm fell to 10 year lows as the shelling industry no longer had to compete with China for in-shell pecans. This year may change as China is showing much more interest and buyers feel slightly more confident about purchasing American Pecans. Many Chinese buyers shifted purchasing habits to Mexico, pushing Mexican pecan prices significantly higher.