The pecan market in north America has opened and wholesale prices on the farm are lagging significantly behind last year as accumulators and shellers utilize huge Mexican pecan stocks for the second year in a row, pushing prices downward.
The pecan spot market for growers in the US has lagged significantly behind last years weak opening prices causing growers to heavily consider moving pecans into cold storage. Some growers plan to go straight from harvest to cold storage each year unless the in-shell market opens strong. In years past, when China was buying more heavily in the US market, the pecan spot market would open much stronger with Chinese traders and shellers competing for limited supplies before the Chinese New Year. Now with China still buying minimal product from the US, the in-shell pecan market has dropped to 10 yr lows.
The export market by in large has fallen off over the last year. With the global pandemic and the resulting economic shutdown in countries across the globe, buyers have been slow to speculate on any soft commodities. Pecans being a relatively un-marketed product in many countries is still fighting an uphill battle to educate consumers about pecans and the various health benefits and superior tastes of the “Super Nut”. With last season ending in August, pecan exports finished the season down 14.2% when compared to the prior season.
The American Pecan Council has made headway here at home with domestic consumption driving demand back into the black. Even while pecan exports were down for the season, overall consumption is up 6.7% for the year. The growth is coming from the domestic market. Even with the incredibly dismal export numbers, the domestic consumption found enough growth to bring the consumption trend into the positive territory. Like the rest of the world, pecans are still largely un-marketed here in the US.
The APC has spent considerable time and money marketing pecans right here at home, and its yielding returns. While the growth is small, it is still growth, and it is growth during a global pandemic. The political landscape has of course been the driver behind the lagging sales to China, even with the phase one trade deal, tariffs on pecans from the US are still quite high, and some trader believe buying activities may pick up after the presidential elections here in the US.
For now, growers will have to decide if they want to accept the much lower spot prices or move pecans into cold storage and negotiate better prices at a later date.