Almonds: Demand for almonds has remained strong over the past two months, with December sales from California up 10% on the previous year. Almond pricing is still cheap compared to other nuts, and demand is predicted to stay strong going forward.

Walnuts: This market looks to be extremely problematic for the remainder of 2011. The main factor has been China’s switch from exporter to net importer over the past two years. The crop from India this season has been very short, and the new Californian crop was also disappointing. Pricing cannot weaken until the supply chain is replenished once again from the key new crops, starting in October.

Cashews: This is another difficult market: prices have broken historical highs in the past few months, with a disappointing new crop from Brazil at the end of 2010. We can confidently expect to see prices remain tight and availability problematic up to April/May.

Pecans: There has been a surge in demand for pecans from China this season. It is estimated that over 75% of the new crop has been pre-sold, with eight months before the next US/Mexican crop. Pecan halves are now easily 40% higher than "normal" price levels.

Pistachios: Prices have remained at the highs seen at the end of 2010, and show little to no sign of any downward correction in the foreseeable future.

l Based on information provided by RM Curtis