Wholesale prices for walnut kernels changed last week in Moldova for the first time since the beginning of November. The maximum price level for the highest quality products – light kernel halves – has decreased slightly (by about 5 lei/kg) resulting in 95 lei/kg ($5.52/kg). Prices for other types of products (e.g., light and dark quarters, nut crumbs) have not changed yet. However, if in December the weakening of prices for high-quality products continues or stabilizes at a previously reduced level, then the rest of the goods will certainly fall in price.
The period of maximum purchase prices for nuts within the country is usually at the end of November and beginning of December. This is when Moldovan export traders strive to ensure the fulfillment of pre-Easter contracts with European buyers as well as form commodity reserves in case of high demand early next year. From this point of view, the decline in purchase prices for the best quality walnut kernels that began in the domestic market at the end of November is not typical.
Specialists from the Union of Nut Growers’ Associations in Moldova believe the depreciation of walnut kernels at the end of autumn is due to internal reasons. When 2020 harvest products went on sale, offers were inactive because spring frosts and summer droughts decreased production volumes, so walnut farmers were waiting for the best moment in prices.
In the second half of October, exporting traders really began to increase purchase prices trying to fulfill their contracts. However, working with limited economic opportunities, the largest companies already purchased enough nuts on the domestic market in November to load their processing/packing facilities before winter. In fact, the beginning of the decline in nut prices at the end of November is a signal to farmers that the domestic market has not only leveled off, but demand has begun to decline.
Traders and exporters in Moldova note that the decline is partially due to the intersection of their harvest supplying Europe with the precise moment when new harvests from the United States enter the market.
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