Vietnam’s cashew exports expected to stay stable hinh anh 1Processing cashew nut for export (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Cashew nut exports this year are expected to reach last year’s figure or slightly increase, according to the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas).

In the first two months of the year, enterprises exported 37,000 tonnes of cashew nut worth 278 million USD, a year-on-year rise of 5.3 percent in volume and 11 percent in value.

Speaking at a meeting in HCM City on March 4, Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vinacas’s chairman, said global demand for the nut was expected to remain high this year, especially in the US, Middle East and Chinese markets.

But domestic cashew processors have not had enough materials to process for exports. Large cashew processing firms had just enough materials for processing until last month, Thanh said.

“Enterprises have had to wait for the main harvest time in Vietnam and Cambodia to buy material sources for processing,” he said. “But the impact of El Nino this year means a bumper crop is unlikely.”

Nguyen Ngoc Khiem from Dong Nai Import Export Processing Agricultural Products and Foods Company (Donafoods) said raw cashews were selling at high prices, while export prices had not increased.

Enterprises, as a result, have not been buying input materials for fear of losses.

In the domestic market, the price of raw cashew nuts has increased by 5,000-6,000 VND per kilo over last year, while the import price of the raw nut from other countries has also gone up significantly, he said.

With high import prices for the raw nut, processing for export will result in low profits, according to delegates at the meeting.

Lower tariffs under free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, would enable Vietnamese firms to increase exports to member countries, Thanh said.-VNA