Today the Almond Board of California released the February 2016 position report.
Feb shipments were 155.05 million lbs. vs. 139.98 million lbs. last season - up 10.8%
We experienced another month where the market seemed to hit bottom and start firming with a period of good activity for a short period, only to quiet and see prices fall again. However, the strong sales in late January seemed to help make for a strong shipping month for February.
Shipment re-cap for major markets:
Month Crop year
U.S.A. +3.7% -7.3%
W. Europe +36% +8%
Middle East +10% -24%
India -54% -10%
China/HK +13% -7%
Japan -24% +4%
THE 2015 CROP
Crop receipts as of Feb 29 were 1.882 billion lbs., up from 1.872 billion lbs. last month. This is 4.6% above NASS Objective estimate of 1.80 billion lbs. and less than 1% above last seasons 1.868 billion lbs.
THE 2016 CROP
It was a strong bloom with excellent overlap, mostly great weather, and short duration. Some are calling it a flash bloom but there doesn't seem to be an official definition for this. The question is whether the bees had enough time for pollination with bloom only lasting about 7 days in many orchards. With the strong bud set leading to the strong bloom, the thought prevailing in the market recently has been that there is a big crop coming for 2016. Recent rain and snow storms are helping improve the water supply. Most growers were able to apply fungicides to protect the crop ahead of the storms. We are now entering the period where some nutlets are not growing as fast as others and start falling off the trees. Reasonable assessments of the crop cannot begin taking place until April.
Committed unshipped was 419 million lbs., down 6% vs. a year ago.
Today's report seems like bullish news that may bring firmness back to the recently bearish market. The overall strong ship figure may help continue to quiet some of the doomsday talk of 600+ carry-out.
We know the domestic market is hurting from early purchases that created high retail prices. The positive shipment month domestically is surprising news.
Lower shipments to India is usually taken as bullish news by Indian buyers, who generally interpret from this that insufficient almonds are on the way and they need to buy.
Stability or firmness for a reasonable period of time will bring more buyers back to the market.
The March Position Report is due for release Tuesday April 12