The American Pecan Council released last month’s pecan industry position report, showing a drop in handler inventory of just over 66 million from 269,856,014 in February of 2019 to 203,333,121 in February 2020.
This drop in inventory may seem concerning with the current state of affairs in the world, however the drop in inventory currently does not reflect a drop in demand for pecans. While the drop in handler inventory is something to consider, it is still premature to assume this decrease in inventory is a reflection on demand for pecans. Currently demand for pecans continues to rise over last year’s numbers.
Shipments to retailers and wholesalers continue to outpace last year’s numbers as total shipments year to date are up 3% over last year’s shipments. While pecan export shipments are down 24.7% from last year’s dismal numbers, domestic consumption continues to reach new heights wiping out the losses in export shipments to bring the total shipments number into positive territory.
Looking forward, we see that commitments to ship are also above last year’s numbers. Last year six month totals showed commitments to ship at 185,314,383 YTD, while this season pecan handlers have reported commitments to ship at 196,178,186 YTD, an increase of 10,863,803 lbs or 6%.
So far this season handlers are reporting strong demand for pecans here in the domestic market. The next few months reports will begin to show us better data as to the effect of the global pandemic on the pecan industry. There seem to be mixed opinions among growers and handlers as to what effect Covid-19 will have on the global pecan industry, some industry professionals seem to think the demand for pecans will slow down while others say they don’t believe demand will slow. One handler had this to say. “Exports are way down and were still shipping more pecans than last year.” As the shutdown in the US and other countries continues to try to slow the spread of the virus the global economy is taking a big hit, only time will tell what effects, if any, this will have on demand for pecans.