Australian kernel sales improve as global supply holds firm
The 2021 Australian macadamia crop forecast has been revised down by 4.5% from 50,770 to 48,500 tonnes in-shell at 3.5% moisture (from 54,440 to 52,000 tonnes at 10% moisture). In the New South Wales growing region, severe weather experienced in recent months delayed first new crop harvest and caused physical crop losses reducing original published crop expectations. With the majority of the Australian macadamia crop now collected, nut sizing is more normal this season and whilst kernel yields are slightly down, overall quality is very good.
The global forecast for the 2021 season is 239,034 tonnes inshell @ 3.5% moisture, an increase of 5%. Australia’s revised forecast represents an increase on last year’s crop of approximately 3.5% due to favourable growing conditions in most regions despite the ongoing legacy of previous years’ sustained drought. Macadamias South Africa’s (SAMAC) published crop estimate for 2021 has been reduced from 57,834 tonnes in-shell to 54,174 tonnes in-shell @ 3.5% moisture. This is 11% higher than the 2020 season result. China and Malawi are expected to return solid crops but Kenya is experiencing ongoing challenges.
Eighteen months since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank is reporting the global economy is poised for a strong recovery, however the rebound is expected to be uneven across countries as many continue to grapple with the virus. Global demand for total macadamia kernel imports continues to improve in line with this. Apart from USA, all major regions are up on the prior MAT period (June- May). Interest from the USA in recent months has been strong and imports into this market are expected to improve. China/HK is the key driver of growth, up 33%. NIS imports were at their highest since 2018 at 11,172 tonnes and were 35% higher than the prior MAT period, driven by rapid economic recovery, a strong Chinese New Year and increased competition in the ecommerce sector resulting in wider distribution into Tier 2 and 3 cities.
Australia’s market share continues to hold in its priority markets. Taiwan is the exception, where there has been increased competition from other origins.
Australian macadamia kernel sales are following the global trend and showing strong improvement with all major regions experiencing growth on prior MAT period, although there was some fluctuation across the specific markets. The fastest recovering market for Australian sales was Korea, up 60%. It was also positive to see domestic sales increased 10% on prior year. Disruption to the international markets and a strong Australian dollar saw improved availability and value for domestic buyers. The intermittent closure of foodservice operators and the growing number of employees working from home fuelled the home cooking trend. Consumers have redefined the concept of indulgence and are nourishing themselves with healthy, nutritious food to support their mood and wellbeing during these tumultuous times.