Today the Almond Board of California released the July 2016 position report.
July shipments were 138.6 million lbs. vs. 122.5 million lbs. in 2015 - UP 13%
Today's shipment figure was in-line with expectations. Shipments for the season are essentially flat at 1.811 billion lbs. vs. 1.812. By the end of December we were tracking off nearly 12%, so this is a considerable turn-around with Jan-July shipments up 9.3%
The U.S. showed another month of relatively flat shipments, as demand recovery continues. Regular shelf price reductions beyond Costco are still slowly coming in place, but we are seeing an increase in promotional discounts.
The Middle East continues to work through heavy spring shipments and was off 47%. Buyers in this region are slowly returning with inquiries.
Asia was up 48% largely thanks to India which is ramping up for the early Diwali. Shipments should be strong in August as well.
Western Europe was up 37% for the month. Spain sold most of their crop early in the season. With current and new crops at the same price, we think some Europeans see value in covering their holiday needs early.
Shipment re-cap for major markets for the crop year:
W. Europe +12%
Middle East -14%
China / HK +11%
THE 2016 CROP
Nonpareil and Independence variety harvests are underway. Shaking is going well and the crop is coming off cleaner than last season. Insect damage is also lower so far, though there have been some hot spots of high navel orange worm damage. Mite pressure has increased considerably in recent weeks. As NASS forecasted, Nonpareil kernel sizing is noticeably larger.
Pricing softened +/- 0.15/lb. in recent weeks due to quiet market conditions. Those with vested interest in the market are watching to see when the seasonal wave of buying activity begins. The market is unsettled as everyone waits for interest to pick up.
World economic conditions remain uncertain but health trends continue to bode very well for almond consumption growth.
In the News: On the Today Show, President Obama talked about his almond eating habits and said "Almonds are a good snack. I strongly recommend them."