The USDA Releases the September Cold Storage Holdings

October 23, 2017

The USDA Cold Storage Holdings for September were released today. The 2016 carry-out was 155.1 million pounds (inshell basis); 26 million pounds more than 2015.  Assuming that the numbers are correct, and not adding anything for the seven states excluded from the USDA estimate, the supply situation shapes-up as follows:

2017 Carry-In                                                            155,128,580

2017 USDA Estimate (8 Largest States)                277,400,000

2017 Net Mexican Imports (NFF estimate)         180,000,000

2017 Total (estimate)                                              612,528,580*

*Note: 2016 Total Supply was approximately 642,047 million pounds.  

Based on today’s release, it would appear that 2016 net consumption was 467.5 million pounds, an 8% increase over 2015.  Two-thirds of the increase can be attributed to China.  However, consumption is still down over 4.7% when compared to the industry’s 2014 record of 489.5 million pounds.  Due to better than anticipated September shipments, and netting out inshell shipped to Mexico for processing, not only were exports up in 2016, but the US Domestic market squeaked-out a better than expected 6% increase.

Looking at recently released FAS data for August, overall exports were down 5.4%.  While imports to many countries remained relatively firm, exports to China dropped 37.5%.  Part of this can be attributed to increased purchases in South Africa as well as their historical alternate-year purchasing habits.

As has been the case over the past few years, imports from Mexico continue to be strong; 5.8% over last year.  While the Mexican crop is expected to be smaller than last year’s record crop, higher prices on this side of the border, and a lack of Chinese demand, should continue to provide a steady flow of Mexican pecans to US Shellers.

Finally, in most cases, no information is better than bad information.  In a recently published report on pecan shipments, it was stated that since 2011, pecan exports to the EU have ‘almost tripled.’  While shipments have definitely increased to the region, up approximately 75% since 2011, they are nowhere near 300%.  Yes, global demand is increasing (US pecan exports are up 45% since 2011) and the industry should be commended for their marketing efforts.  However, publishing information that has no basis in fact only serves to confuse, mislead and destroy what little credibility our industry has left, something it can ill afford.