The crop is in, and the final crop size for the US crop is 475 million pounds. Approximately 99% of the US production came from California, with 1% from all other states. Open in-shell is down about 84 million pounds from the 2012 crop (18%), while closed shell and shelling stock are up 4 million pounds. The total crop is about 15% smaller than the 2012 crop, and considerably smaller than pre-harvest expectations.
Shipments for the first two months of the marketing year have been strong. At 52.5 million pounds shipped in October, it was the largest shipping month in the history of the US pistachio industry. When you look inside the shipment numbers, there are some interesting nuggets of information.
Exports in October accounted for almost 80% of all shipments, and export shipments for the year are up 40% as compared to the first two months of the prior marketing year. Within that 40% increase, exports to China and Hong Kong are up 66% versus last year, and exports to the rest of the world are up 6%. For the afore mentioned record setting October, exports to all countries in the world (including the domestic market at 20% lower) were down 9% versus last October while exports to China/HK were up 38%. For the first two months of the marketing year, China and Hong Kong have taken 77% more pistachio than were shipped to the US market. Like it or not, the US pistachio industry is heavily dependent on China. If China sneezes, the US pistachio industry will catch a cold.
There has been significant consternation by buyers, and joy by producers given the pricing for the 2013 crop. Crops worldwide are significantly less than last year, and this is part of the reason. The other reason: Chinese demand. It’s not hard to understand the run up in prices when demand increases in the face of reduced supply. In the case of pistachios, it’s demand from China, and we don’t know if and when it will slow. Most likely, it will not slow , but come to a sudden stop.
Pricing has beenstable over the past month, and the market has been quiet. In-shell pistachios are about $5.50/pound, and kernels about $10/pound.