“Without these sales, he says, U.S. export share in 2012 falls to near the 2007 level while Argentina’s export share rises to about a third of total world trade.

“If we examine the 10-year trend in China’s exports, looking specifically at the various sectors of peanut trade, we find that much of the decline in China’s trade has been with raw-shelled peanuts. 

“Export volumes in this category have dropped by two-thirds from near 600,000 tons in-shell basis to less than 200,000 tons today.”

Further observation shows that while the volume of raw, shelled peanuts was declining, exports of processed peanuts were increasing, reaching a peak in 2010, notes George.

The trend in total peanut exports has generally been declining since 2002, and at an accelerating pace over the past few years in line with slowing exports of processed peanuts beginning after 2010. 

Exports of in-shell peanuts have remained relatively unchanged over much of the period but also have shown a declining trend since 2010.

“To delve a bit more into China trade, it’s worth a look at relative average unit values for raw shelled peanuts. The average unit value for Chinese peanuts has risen from a low level, near that of India, to one exceeding the value of all major exporters, including the U.S.

“While being a somewhat course measure, it does suggest that the decline in raw shelled peanuts was weighted more heavily on the lower end of the price/value spectrum. 

“Logically, this is what you would expect given the large quantity of peanuts crushed in China and the lower profits exporters would realize in shipping lower valued peanuts.”

Looking at China’s slowing exports of raw, shelled peanuts in relation to trends observed with other major exporters, there is a corresponding rise in exports from India and Argentina, says George.

“Given the lower unit value of Indian and Argentine peanuts, relative to the U.S., it would appear that much, if not all of the decline in Chinese exports was captured by sales from these two markets. U.S. exports generally remained stable at around 270,000 tons for the period.”

One thing to note in the trade trends is the dramatic rise in Indian exports beginning in 2010 and running through 2012, he says. These were replaced by additional U.S. exports beginning in late 2012. 

“This rise in U.S. peanut sales corresponds to an improved supply situation in the U.S., plus additional sales made to Chinese buyers.