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Covid market update: Saffron, Pinenut
COVID-19 effects have now begun to affect international shipping lines - reports are that between 400,000-500,000 sailors have been stranded due to COVID-19. Either having caught the virus, or due to original lack of cargo leaving them stranded on another location, or problems at their country of origin / ports of transit not letting them disembark, and later a huge need for goods like masks and protective equipment shipping out of China... as a result there is now a severe lack of ships for transportation of goods between the rest of world, and prices for shipping have increased TENFOLD since mid-November and carrying on through December. We expect this shipping problem to continue through to Chinese New Year, thereafter seasonal demand finally ends.
Saffron crop arrivals look stronger than ever and prices are finally starting to come down. We expect some loss is also due to huge lack of festive and celebratory demand from India and around the world which has been heavily hit by the virus.
Pinenut crop is in shortage now. These nuts thrive in cold weather, like Siberia, Mongolia and Korea. This season's harvest has been very poor and regular reports released from authorities show much poorer yield than usual. Prices are high, and quality standards in general have been dropping. We have now started seeing pinenut kernels being exported about 1/3 - 1/4 the size of Regency's Jumbo pinenuts... tiny! Our own stock is enough to last a couple more months, but since this harvest is heavily seasonal, we expect true situation to be reflected in prices early next year.