According to EastFruit analysts, harvesting of early walnut varieties hasstarted in Ukraine. So far, the offered volumes of the new harvest are not large. There is also an issue with walnuts having to be dried, as there were a lot of rains in different regions of Ukraine in recent days.
Nevertheless, there is also a positive factor – wholesale prices for in-shell walnuts and walnut kernels are still significantly higher than a year earlier. On average, producers can get 30-33% more for high-quality walnut kernels than at the same time last year and almost 70% more than in 2019 at the very beginning of the season.
It should be noted that prices are now formed mainly from what is left from 2020. while the 2021 peak harvesting is somewhat late. Nevertheless, market participants cannot forecast at this time whether prices will remain at a high level. They hope the US walnut factor will not have a negative impact on the market this year, since weather has been very unfavorable in California this year, and the harvest is estimated to be significantly lower than last year.
Nevertheless, the walnut harvest in Ukraine is likely to continue to increase, creating a need for increased exports. Market participants have no hopes for the growth of the domestic walnut market.
Meanwhile, in the 2020/21 season, Ukraine reduced the exports of walnuts by 20% compared to the 2019/20 season, primarily due to a decrease in global prices. Incidentally, this was the lowest export earnings from walnuts in the last four seasons. At the same time, the exports geography has changed dramatically – Turkey was only fourth in the ranking of the largest importers, while the EU countries began to buy more Ukrainian walnuts, given the low price.
Moldova, Ukraine’s main competitor in the region’s walnut market, also expects the walnut harvest to increase in 2021, although market participants believe that the harvest will be below the average for the last five years. France, another major European player, is expecting a decline in the walnut harvest. Therefore, the positive factors are numerous, and the cautious optimism of the walnut market participants is justified.
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