Almond Market Review – November 2018
The Almond Board of California released the October position report
Shipments were 247.1 million lbs. vs. 246.5 million lbs. in 2017
Expectations were for about 225 million lbs. of shipments, so this is a positive surprise for the market.
U.S. up 6.7%
Exports down 2%
Western Europe +9% (-5% YTD) China/HK/Vietnam -7% (-17% YTD) India -10% (+3% YTD)
Middle East / Africa -24% (-43% YTD) Japan +12% (-4% YTD) Canada +31% (+13% YTD)
South Korea +24% (+24% YTD) Central/Eastern Europe +18% (-12% YTD)
Harvest is complete. Shelling is going quickly and most are on track to finish earlier than last year.
Insect Damage remains below last year and historically high at 1.7%
Crop size (volume) seems on track for 2.30 billion lbs. based on receipts. Industry expectations seem to remain in the 2.3 to 2.35 billion lb. range.
Following a disappointingly weak September report, the market quieted and pricing softened a month ago. The few cent loss quickly recouped as activity resumed. Pricing softened slightly again about 10 days ago as more sellers entered the market, but activity picked up considerably over the past several days and brought a firmness back. The Middle East has been very active, and China has seemed to steadily buy.
October sales of 276.5 million lbs. are well up from 201 last October, and a near tie with the 2nd highest sales month of all time.
Committed/Shipped reached 1.16 Billion lbs. This is approximately 48% of the projected marketable crop using NASS’ 2.45B or 51% using 2.30B
The first two months of the season were not a good gauge of demand because of the low pollinator availability during those months (low carry in, late harvest) and weak market sentiment. We indicated last month that at the current low pricing, sales and shipments should get back on track soon. In the face of all the tariffs, trade wars and currency issues, California just had the biggest shipping month in its history. Sales were a near tie for the second largest in history. Strangely, all this selling & shipping took place during a period where the market never felt too firm nor active for very long. Perhaps the sentiment yo-yo was good for the industry as it kept sellers participating, leading to today’s excellent numbers. With commitments down 13% vs. a year ago, and November 2017 at 228M being so large historically compared to other Novembers, it would seem implausible to break last year’s record. However, buying is very hand to mouth so the industry has a chance to repeat the unthinkable again 2 months in a row.
Paul Ewing Dennis Soares
Further info: October 2018 Position Report
Upcoming news: November Position Report – December 11