Cashew kernel prices are trading high despite reports of increased production in major producing countries, traders said. Cashew nut prices have hit the roof and have crossed $5 per pound touching historic levels of $5.35-5.50 a pound. India produces 6-7 million tonne of cashews per annum and was until recently the leading supplier of kernels to the global market. “Demand for cashew nuts seems to be robust despite a historic rise in prices. European retailers have increased their retail prices for cashews and consumption is still seen good. The health benefits of nuts might be the reason for the sustained demand for kernels,”Pratap Nair of Vijayalakshmi Cashews, one of the oldest cashew kernels exporting companies, said. He was the chairman of the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) Congress held in Chennai recently. Demand is robust for cashew nuts despite competing nuts like almonds and hazel nuts selling at a discount, he added.
Global demand for kernel, which is a tree nut, has surged 53 % since 2010, outstripping production in at least four of the past seven years, according to the data reported by INC. According to market reports, nut ingredients market, in terms of volume, is projected to grow at CAGR of 5.7% from 2014 to 2019. On the demand side, US and EU continue to be large buyers but they have been overtaken by Asia which is now the largest consuming region. Whole kernels without defects or blemishes are required for the snack trade and the broken pieces are required for other
confectionery, biscuits and bakery products and other prepared foods.
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In the last 18 months, cashew market has gone up from $3.55-3.70 to $5.00-5.10 per pound, a gradual rise of over 35% with occasional small dips. Raw cashews are highly priced and are about 30% higher than that of the year ago period and about 10% higher than that of the beginning of 2017 season, reports Pankaj Sampat of Mumbai- based Samson’s trading. Production of raw cashew is estimated to increase in the coming crop season (2017-18) with most countries like India and Ivory Coast reporting good growth. Traders see Cambodian cashew crop compensating for a decline and delay in Vietnam crop. INC data shows Indian cashew production to increase to 1.76 million tonne in 2017-18 from 1.55 million tonne in 2016-17.Global cashew production is estimated at 7.4 million tonne.