The data for pecan exports from the US to countries around the globe has been compiled and reported for the year, and the preliminary data shows pecan exports finishing the year at a loss from the previous year.
Pecan exports to nearly every region are down when compared to last season. The pecan season is reported from September to August each year in keeping with the new harvest season. The American Pecan Council has published preliminary data for the latest harvest season running from September of 2019 to August of 2020, and as expected, pecan exports took a hit for the year.
Demand for pecans finished the year higher, however exports were not the driver behind the growth, in fact just the opposite. Pecan exports are down to every region except Asia. As the trade dispute between China and US all but shut down pecan exports to China in the previous season, the Exports to Asia could only go up from the previous year. Pecan exports to Asia finished the year up 3.5 million pounds from 24 to 27 million pounds exported, still dismal compared to pre-trade war levels.
Europe was the largest drop of just under 10 million pounds less than the previous year dropping from 47 million pounds to 37 million pounds exported to the region. The global economic shutdown has developed fear among traders and exporters causing many to reduce speculatory purchases and keep inventories much smaller and completely committed.
The second biggest loss was North America resulting in a decrease of just under 9 million pounds when compared to last season. Canada and Mexico have been good trading partners for US pecan growers however the pandemic has slowed trade for these two countries as well.
The pecan exports have fallen off for the year and could take some time to recover as many trade shows have been either rescheduled or cancelled until next year. The pecan is still quite new to many countries and markets and education and marketing play a big role in the development of new export markets. China has been a great example of what education and marketing can do to develop new markets, baring the political landscape does not interfere.
Exports to the China market play a big role in pecan prices at the farm level, as Chinese buyers prefer to buy direct from growers allowing for better prices on the farm. Since the onset of the trade war, pecan growers have essentially lost that customer and have also seen the resulting drop in pecan prices on the farm.
Demand continues to be a bright spot in the numbers, while the export market is lagging, the domestic market here in the US has been a driver of growth, pushing pecan shipments into the black for the year increasing by nearly 7%. Domestic consumption has grown enough to overcome the losses in the export markets and still see growth in sales for the year.