Today the Almond Board of California released the December 2016 position report
December shipments were 156 million lbs. vs. 135 million lbs. in 2015 - UP 15%
US shipments continue recovering: +15% for December and +13% for the season.
Exports: +16% for December and +46% for the season.
China was down significantly as they took most of their product by November due to the early Chinese New Year.
India also slowed, but in recent weeks returned to the market, sooner than expected. The Middle East continues to impress with frequent buying, despite being up 122% YTD. As the EU and these other two markets were active in recent weeks, the market has firmed.
Commitments of 497 million lbs. are up 19%
Total shipments Aug - Dec are up 34%.
Shipped & committed reached 1.45 billion lbs. - approximately 70% of the projected marketable crop (using 2.10) and 59% of total supply (crop + carry-in).
THE 2016 CROP
Receipts reached 2.06 billion lbs. - up 11% vs. a year ago. This is right in line with expectations and tracking toward 2.1.
THE 2017 CROP
The bud set and new fruiting wood growth look excellent on the east side, while the west side appears mixed but better than a year ago. These strong storms are greatly helping water supply and pushing salts down in soils where they are an issue. Chilling hours are sufficient but not great, and significantly behind last year. Bloom timing is tracking toward "normal" so far.
California's supply, assuming a 2.10 crop, is up 237 million lbs. January is expected to be a solid shipping month, similar to December. Shipments are 243 million lbs. ahead so far and may be 270 million lbs. ahead by the end of January. During the back half of the previous season, shipments were very strong and it will be difficult to continue to greatly surpass the monthly figures in the spring and summer. If the industry averages shipments similar to last season for the remainder of the crop year, we would have a similar carry-out, in which case pricing would depend greatly on 2017 crop size speculation. The U.S. shipments should continue to do very well vs. last season. Exports are the bigger wild card given the strong US Dollar.
Most anticipate a good wave of activity in the short-term followed by the usual emotional / weather-driven market during bloom.
The next position report is scheduled for Thursday February 9.