FAS Releases Up-Beat December Pecan Export Data

February 09, 2018

Recently released pecan export data contained some interesting information.  While overall US pecan exports are up 9.7% over the same period a year ago, shelled pecans/meat shipments are down almost 9.4%.  Shipments to China accounted for 50.7% of all US pecan exports compared to 43.7% last year.  This is a bit of a surprise when one considers that this was supposed to be the off-buying year for China.  Overall, exports to China are up 27% with inshell exports accounting for 80% of all US inshell shipments.

As expected, inshell shipments to Mexico are up dramatically; 373.7%.  When subtracted from the import data, Mexico has shipped 119.5 million pounds (net) to the US.  While still a significant number, it is down 25.4% over the same period a year ago.

Then there’s South Africa. The 2017 crop was a record 16,500 tons (36.4 million pounds). Due to continued drought conditions throughout most of the growing region, this year’s crop was expected to be smaller.  However, based on early estimates, the country could set another record.  Several sources report an anticipated crop between 18 and 19,000 tons (39.7 to 41.9 million pounds). Should the crop come in as currently projected, it could have a significant impact on next fall’s prices in Georgia.  As more and more plantings come into production, South Africa will become a greater factor in determining early prices offered out of the Southeastern US.

Finally, there was a pecan report published two weeks ago claiming that the FBI was investigating a Texas pecan cooperative relative to alleged money owed to several of the co-ops members.  The article included a picture of FBI agents raiding an office and carrying out stacks of papers.  At the time of its publication, I advised the author of the article that not only was there no FBI investigation, there was no raid, no carting-off of reams of documents and that many of the allegations in the article were either significantly distorted or flat out false.  The author acknowledged my email, but in the weeks since, has not offered a clarification, apology or retraction.  This is the type of irresponsible information dissemination that our industry does not need.  Not only does it impugn the reputation of a cooperative that has faithfully served the pecan industry for well over forty years, it reflects poorly on the industry in general. This is not the first time that said author has published such articles, articles that exaggerate the facts or are flat out wrong.  Until the industry says ‘enough is enough,’ this type of yellow journalism will continue to be an anchor on an industry that is working diligently to change its image.