Rouble rebounded and hit its highest in this year, slowing down the rates of decline of the main nuts and dried fruits import. Is this the evidence of an economic stabilization? Possibly! Some importers refrain from purchasing nuts and dried fruits due to their high price, others manage to support stable demand even under such circumstances.
The foremost and most powerful engine of the Russian nuts import showed a 16% increase. The main reason of such import volume growth is that peanuts serve to substitute more pricey nuts. Peanuts import from Brazil demonstrated the highest growth in the nine months of 2016 – 37% – due to their attractive prices. Argentina reduced its share in the Russian import volumes to 52% amid crop problems at the origin. Cheap peanuts from India, China, Uzbekistan will come in the market by the end of October and we will witness a battle for Russian peanuts market among the world leading producers.
High price and impossibility of purchasing of walnuts from Ukraine have affected walnuts import, prompting its falloff by 20% in nine months of 2016. Despite pretty good forecasts for main origins, prospects of walnut import growth are rather clouded. Chile remains the leading exporter to the Russian Federation with its 88% share in the Russian walnut import.
Raisins encourage overall growth of Russian import volumes, and 30% rise is a positive confirmation making us to think that breaking of 30,000 tons of dried fruits benchmark level is quite feasible. Good crop and attractive prices in Turkey in Afghanistan may reshape the exporters’ shares in the Russian market. Iran holds the first place in nine months with 34% share in the market, followed by Afghanistan with firm 23.4%. Current low prices for Turkish Sultanas and the meltdown in Russian-Turkish relations will definitely be echoed in shipments trend. 18% share of raisins import from India also deserves nominating as “The Breakthrough of the Year”. Indian raisins found its way to the market due to decent quality and low price in the beginning of the year.
Cashew import decreased by 11% in nine months 2016 YoY. At the same time, if we look at the monthly dynamics, the situation looks not so pessimistic: the import volumes had been rising for 7 of 9 previous months compared to the respective months of the previous year. Rising prices amid raw material shortage affect shipments to Russia. Vietnam firmly holds the leading role and remains mostly the only cashew supplier to Russia with its share in the Russian market totaling 90%.
Indian producers have raised their import to Russia by 11%. Despite certain price volatility, sesame seeds remain an attractive product. Experts forecast that by the end of the year total import volume will exceed 10,000 tons.
Poor dried apricots crop in Turkey in the previous year allowed Chinese exporters to strengthen their positions in the Russian market and increase shipments to Russia by 9% in nine months of 2016. Current prices for Turkish dried apricots seem attractive and the import volumes of Turkish dried apricots are expected to rise till the end of the year. Overall import volumes during nine months of 2016 remain the same as in the previous year – 3,300 tons.
Almond import volumes fell by 24% YoY and by four times in comparison to the levels of 2014. Almond shows the worst import volumes decline among all nuts and fried fruits. Almond, coming from the UAE, repels buyers by its high price, whereas the lack of offers from Chile limits import opportunities of Russian importers.
Pumpkin seeds demonstrate constant import volumes, stable monthly dynamics and export countries. 98% of pumpkin seeds come to Russia from Chinese producers. In comparison to other products of this market segment, pumpkin seeds is especially popular among purchasers due to the lowest price in the previous 20 years.
Pistachio import volumes continue to slow down – minus 22% YoY in the previous nine months. Banned import from the USA allowed Iran to obtain the dominance among exporters to Russia. The situation is not forecasted to change any time soon, because pistachio is traditionally an expensive product for Russian market and only increased consumer demand may change import dynamics.
Azerbaidzhan hazelnut growers expand their presence in the Russian market, currently their share amounts to 64%. Azerbaidzhan is followed by Georgia and Turkey. Hazelnut experienced the most conservative import decline among expensive nuts. Geographic proximity of Russia to the biggest hazelnut producers explains the wider expansion of hazelnut in the market, compared to pistachio, almond and cashew nuts.
Vast assortment of candied dried fruits from Thailand at an attractive price continue to occupy 90% of Russian import in the previous nine months of 2016, which is 5% more YoY. Dried fruits are popular in snack industry, due to moderate price and low risk of finished products spoilage after its packing or during transportation.
Import volumes growth gave the way to importers losses and overabundance of offers of Latin America prunes in the local market. As the result, minus 3% of import volumes in the previous nine months. The demand from confectioneries is declining due to availability of less pricey raw materials from Uzbekistan and Moldova. Disastrous crop of prunes in the USA keeps alive the hope of Chilean and Argentinean producers for selling available stocks of current crop prunes at decent prices.