Almond Market Review – September 2018
The Almond Board of California released the August position report
Shipments were 154.2 million lbs. vs. 168.6 million lbs. in 2017 – down 8.5%
U.S. down 0.3%
Western Europe -32%
Middle East / Africa -48%
South Korea +66%
Central/Eastern Europe -42%
Nonpareil harvest is about over though a good portion are not hulled or processed yet. Insect damage has increased and is sitting at 1.76% avg., historically high and slightly below a year ago. RPAC’s NP receipts are down 12% vs. 2017, not including 3rd leaf contributions. The third leaf crops seem to be about half of normal this year. Reports out of the Sac Valley and Kern county are lower yields, though the Sac Valley has considerable new acreage. Reports out of the center east show good crops vs. last year. Opinions on final NP receipts vary from something in-line with the estimate to fairly short of the estimate.
Independence orchards are mainly young and showing good increases in yields. It is tracking at 9.5% of the Nonpareil receipts vs. 5.2% a year ago (6.2% final), indicating we may end up with an additional 40-50 million lbs. of this variety.
Pollinator yields are still limited. So far, at RPAC we see Price slightly up, Aldrich slightly down and Wood Colony down 19%. Insect damage is a concern with the pollinators as well.
August shipments were in-line with expectations. The late harvest and limited pollinator carry-in are hurting early shipments.
Commitments are 515 vs. 677 million lbs. a year ago, down 24%. This is approximately 21.4% of the projected marketable 2018 crop, or 18.6% of the projected total supply.
Chinese demand concerns seem over-blown but it could take several months for this to become clear. Some of what goes to China/Hong Kong and Vietnam is re-exported, so the figures do not tell the whole story. In addition almonds are going to China via new routes. Australian shipments to China/HK/VT were up 140% for the month of June and sales seemed to ramp up further after that month.
India shipments have been strong though activity has slowed recently. With the inshell sales slowing and closer pricing parity between kernels and inshell, some sellers have opted for shelling lots that may have otherwise gone inshell. The amount of stick tights has also limited inshell supply from some orchards.
European buying seems considerably behind. Once California has more pollinators and Europe is more active, the monthly reports will help give a clearer picture of export demand.
Consumers and food manufacturers are not slowing their use of almonds. The weak emotion since June has led to decreased purchases and stocks in many parts of the world. We are in that time of the year where activity should start picking up.
Paul Ewing Dennis Soares
Further info: August 2018 Position Report
Upcoming news: September Position Report – October 11