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Almost a year ago, Vietnam’s cashew nut exports were forecast to continue to grow and surpass the US$3 billion mark for the first time in 2017. In fact, exports set a new record of US$3.52 billion from 353,000 tonnes to the end of 2017.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, exports of processed cashew nuts reached an estimated 30,000 tons for December with a value of US$302 million, bringing total exports for 2017 up to 353,000 tons worth US$3.52 billion, a rise of 1.9% in volume and 23.8% in value against 2016.

The US, Netherlands, and China remained the three largest consumers of Vietnam’s cashew nuts in 2017 with market shares of 35%, 15.6%, and 12.9%, respectively. Markets reporting strong growth include Russia (up 56.3%), the Netherlands (up 44.7%), Thailand (up 41.4%), the US (up 27%), the UK (up 24.8%), and Israel (up 13.5%).

The sharp rise in export turnover was attributable to the increasing demands of the world market and a decline in material supplies from major producing countries, such as Vietnam, thus sending the global price of cashew nuts and that of Vietnam’s exports soaring high. The export price of processed cashew nuts jumped by 22.3% on average to around US$9,926.3 per tonne. Exports to Hong Kong (China) alone touched the highest price of US$ 11,553 per tonne.

In response to the slump that hit productivity and output of the 2016-2017 crop year due to inclement weather, Vietnamese processors have availed themselves of every opportunity to expand their imports of raw cashews from Africa, Cambodia, and Laos.

With the result that the country’s material cashew imports last year hit 1.28 million tons with a value of US$2.53 billion,  up 23% in volume and 52.8% in value from a year earlier.

In addition, more than 250,000 tons of homegrown cashews have provided abundant material resources for processing to bolster exports.

According to the Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS), surplus value of processed cashews surged by 20% when compared with the cost of importing materials.

The past decade saw Vietnam move closer to being a world cashew processing hub as the country has surpassed India to become the world’s leading cashew nut processor over the five-year period, occupying 1.6-1.7 million tons of processed cashews out of the total global volume of 3.4 million tons of raw cashews every year.

VINACAS says worldwide demand for cashew nut consumption is growing by 10% annually. However, according to the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Foundation (INC), cashew nuts are getting the lion share of the global dried nut market with a value of approximately US$30 billion per year and they are forecast to account for 28.91% of market shares by 2021, followed by walnuts.

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