Pine nuts: Prices have remained firm since our last report and are now trading some 15% higher than in December. Apart from the volatile currency, availability from China this season seems very sporadic, with a reduced supply to China from Russia and Siberia.

Pumpkin seeds: These have also stayed firm over the past one to two months due to significantly reduced availability in China. Reports confirm that China did reduce its new crop by 30-40% in favour of higher cash return crops, and although demand into 2009 will definitely be reduced, it is unlikely that we will see any price reduction in the short to medium term, especially as the currency remains likely to struggle against the dollar overall.

Sunflower seeds: Although supply in China is good this new season - and despite the reductions overall in the pricing of edible oils, including sunflower - demand for sunflower seeds is strong and, with the weak currency, is pushing pricing higher. Within the seed basket, sunflower seeds continue to look good value when set against massively price premium levels on pine nuts and pumpkin seeds. With such a large differential, it is logical that demand for seeds within bakery and snack mixes will favour sunflower and this is likely to keep pricing stable to firm unless we see a major US dollar downward correction.

Based on information provided by ingredients supplier RM Curtis