After a period of both short supply and short demand, seems this balance to be disrupted after the last stocks of TMO came to the market last month. Although trading activities are still low, some first relief in pricing could be seen on the Turkish market during the last two weeks. With the line between supply and demand still very thin, it remains to be seen whether this trend will push further or turns out to be only a temporary condition. In the meantime prices for other (ingredient) nuts are worldwide under pressure as well, providing no support for hazelnut prices to lean on. Last Wednesday a new update on the expected world supply of hazelnuts was released by the INC. The estimate for the Turkish crop was set at 620.000 MT, which is in line with the earlier indication of 613.000 made on the flower count. This means a decrease of almost 22% for the Turkish crop compared to this year. The impact on the total world supply remains limited, driven by strong expectations of bigger crops in all other producing countries except for France and Iran.
After a period of increasing prices, persistent farmers and a market which seemed to be stuck forever, we saw the first relieve in prices in the past weeks. The market seems to be moving again after some farmers in the Akçakoca region started to sell their consignment stocks two weeks ago, more and more Turkish farmers decided to start selling as well. This development is pushed by several factors. The weakening Turkish Lira, the buying prices of Ferrero for Italian crop and the terrible shipment figures of last month declare this selling attitude. Also the presence of both Azerbaijan and Georgia is increasing the pressure on the Turkish farmers, since they are satisfied with the current market prices ( +/- 8,60 USD) and are filling up the demand for this season. We expect this trend to push through in the coming weeks, covering future position is therefore not recommended yet.
The hazelnut market remained firm during the past two weeks. While domestic prices continued to be stable, where prices for export destinations were driven up by the currency influences. After we witnessed a dip on the Turkish Lira in the first week of December, the currency recovered itself during the last two weeks. As mentioned in our last hazelnut update, the total exports from Turkey were expected to be below average this season. The export figures of the last two weeks, about 10.000 MT in total, validate these speculations. If this lines pushes through, the estimated figure would be between 85.000 and 90.000 total export this season. While Georgia benefitted from this situation at the beginning of December seem they to be in line with Turkey at the moment, turning them into a less attractive origin again. The market is not likely to come down on the short term. Unsatisfied farmers and handlers with higher production costs (due to the lower average) are the main drivers for this prediction.
The Turkish hazelnut market finished 2016 at an export level of almost 93.000 MT. While we were expecting the market to close between 85.000 and 90.000 MT during the time of our last market report, we’ve witnessed a small lift during the national holidays, which allowed the export figures to further increase. 2017 started on a firm basis, as processors are dealing with higher than usual handling costs due to the lower quality of crop. The supply is expected to remain stable during the coming week, based on the behaviour of major exporters. The behaviour of the Turkish Lira can however not be predicted, as we are witnessing a peak against the USD (see graph) after the attack in Izmir last week followed by the current debates in the parliament concerning the power of President Erdogan.
The Turkish hazelnut market has been driven upwards as a result of the political situation the past few weeks. The extreme USD/TLR rate pushed demand upwards for both short as long term positions. We have seen the highest peak so far at 12 January at TLR 3,92, the market continued yo-yoing from this moment on. Nobody is able to further predict the rate of the TLR, especially since the destiny of the Turkish constitution lays in the hands of the citizens as they are called to vote. The hazelnutmarket itself is as unpredictable. The strong demand resulted in Turkish handlers to mix 2016 crop with 2015 crop so a careful attitude is advised. The rumours of the Turkish chamber of commerce about the flowering in some lower altitude regions have been confirmed by several suppliers. Although this is good news for the coming crop, there are too many influences such as strong winds and rainfall able to reverse the situation. At this stage prices for new crop still stay firm and increasing, coverage for the short term is only advised from reliable handlers from whom the 2016 crop can be guaranteed.
The record levels of the USD/TLR rate triggered a lot of buyers during the beginning of the year to cover their needs. As a result of this situation we see a lot of activity between Turkish exporters and farmers at the moment. The current market prices, which are close to USD 7,- per KG for natural 11/13, are boosting the activity on the local market. With rumours coming from other regions such as Georgia and Italy of almost vanished stocks, the Turkish stock holders are starting to reconsider their positions. Some exporters fear another stubborn reaction from the stock holders, which could result in a tensed situation for exporters with contracts for February, March and even April obligations. The uncertain continuation of this situation multiplied by the fact that the Turkish hazelnuts are currently considered as the cheapest origin result in our advice to cover your nearby without hesitations. The pollination reports, as expected by the end of February, will provide us with a better indication for the long term positions.
The market for Turkish hazelnuts stayed relatively stable during the last two weeks. Most processors seem to feature enough stocks in order to cover their contracts for the nearby period. The snowfall which is covering a great share of the growing regions has triggered a lot of speculations regarding the new crop. Nearby forecasts are seen as the most important driver for assumptions at the moment, as the blooming is most vulnerable for weather extremes during this period of the year. Demand as per today seems to slow down, decreasing TL/KG prices are equalized by the USD/TL rate, keeping export prices more or less at the same level.