Almond Market Review – March 2019
The Almond Board of California released the February position report
Shipments were 186.9 million lbs. vs. 190.1 million lbs. in 2018 – down 1.3%
U.S. (up 4.15% YTD) was up 8.7% – the best month over month increase all season
Exports (down 3.5% YTD) were down 5.7%
Western Europe -6% (-7% YTD)
China/HK/Vietnam -74% (-18% YTD) It’s unclear how much of this trend has to do with the region being short on product and needing to buy, and how much has to do with a shift toward Australian origin for duty savings. China’s shift toward Australian origin should increase India’s buying of California origin.
India +56% (+2% YTD)
Middle East / Africa +18% (+9% YTD) far outpaces expectations. While good stocks are afloat to Dubai, buyers in the Middle East region continue buying and others plan to return in the coming 1-2 months.
Japan +30% (+5% YTD) South Korea +5% (+9% YTD)
Central/Eastern Europe -12% (-3% YTD) Canada +9% (+9% YTD)
2018 CROP…receipts reach 2.262 billion lbs.
Up 11 million lbs. from last month and up 0.5% vs. a year ago. Final receipts are expected to reach the 2.27 to 2.275 range.
Pros on the 2019 bloom:
Strong bud set (in most of the state)
Long bloom and longer pollen viability with the cool weather
Post bloom weather looks great for the near term
Excellent water availability (we had this for the past 2 years too)
Low bee flight hours due to cold, rain, and/or wind during much of bloom.
Overly saturated soils are not ideal as the trees need oxygen, and growers need to get in and apply fertilizers to feed the crop that is starting to develop.
Bacterial blast is showing up very badly on the east sides of Merced and Stanislaus counties, a result of the cold wet weather. We are unsure how prevalent this is in other areas of the state.
February shipments were solidly in-line with expectations.
February sales of 150 million lbs. are a new record, up 33% from a year ago.
Committed/Shipped are 1.905 Billion lbs., approximately 74% of total supply or 85% of the projected marketable crop.
Total ’18 crop year supply is forecast down 1% due to the lower carry-in. Total shipments are down 1.3% YTD. March is expected to be another solid shipping month. Supply and Demand are balancing out fairly well. However, last year around this time, due to a variety of issues (the frost, resulting price spike, Iran/Turkey currency issues, the start of trade war uncertainty, etc.) sales and shipments began to fall off considerably from here. With current tight supply, there is not room for the shipment growth that may want to take place. February sales were surprisingly strong, and it is possible if not likely that, by the next report, sales will have fully caught up to a year ago and on pace to surpass. Therefore, we may see further price firming on some current crop items. This long and late bloom point toward a potentially late harvest, which would exacerbate this tight transition.
Growers are hopeful the bees did their work in the shorter windows of good weather, but it’s still very early and uncertain. Thus, the price outlook on new crop is less certain and there are fewer sellers for new crop than we saw a few weeks ago. We expect a continued wide range of expectations for the new crop size, which hopefully will narrow as we get the estimates (Subjective Estimate May 10, Objective Estimate July 11)
Paul Ewing Dennis Soares
Further info: February 2019 Position Report
Upcoming news: March Position Report – April 11, 2019