Almond Market Update – April 2019
The Almond Board of California released the March position report
Shipments were 184.9 million lbs. vs. 193.9 million lbs. in 2018 – down 1.7%
U.S. (up 3% YTD) was down 4%
Exports (down 3.7% YTD) were down 5%
Western Europe -3% (-3% YTD) A year ago the region was up 49 million lbs. (13%) and ended the season only up 16 million lbs. (3%). This year shipments to Western Europe are down 27 million lbs. and should see a stronger finish compared to last year.
China/HK/Vietnam -69% (-23% YTD) They are shifting toward Australian as well as waiting to see if a U.S. trade agreement comes through. This market is often unpredictable.
India +33% (+4% YTD) This market should remain strong. As China shifts toward Australian inshell, India will need more U.S. product. The late 2019 harvest is another reason more inshell will need to come out of current crop (if enough is available).
Middle East / Africa +0.6% (+8% YTD) is taking somewhat of a breather while still nibbling.
Japan +7% (+6% YTD) South Korea +56% (+15% YTD)
Central/Eastern Europe +30% (-3% YTD) Canada -23% (+1% YTD)
Weather has been very mild, thus good for kernel size, doubles, and a late harvest. Kern County and the West side look to be bouncing back from last year. The East side looks weaker and more inconsistent. Overall, the crop is expected to increase both from the yield and acreage, but it’s still debatable whether it will be in the range of 2.4, 2.5 or more.
Shipments were in-line with expectations, albeit on the low end.
March sales of 148 million lbs. are up 30% from last March’s 112.
Committed/Unshipped is running ahead of last season for the first time. 464 million lbs. vs. 442 a year ago, up 5%.
Committed/Shipped reached 2.05 Billion lbs., approximately 79% of total supply and 92% of the projected marketable crop. This is now just 5 million lbs. behind last season, meanwhile total supply is down 32 million lbs. The numbers are more clearly pointing toward the tight carry-out. This comes at the same time as the post-bloom weather points toward a harvest 10-14 days behind normal. Numerous markets should contribute to a stronger finish to the 2018 crop year. Until more is clear on the 2019 crop size, the outlook is less clear for new crop pricing. Many feared a strong 2019 crop could bring down current crop pricing. Now some are starting to wonder if a very tight carryout for current crop could pull up the 2019 crop pricing.
Paul Ewing Dennis Soares
Further info: March 2019 Position Report
Upcoming news: April Position Report – May 9
NASS Subjective Crop Estimate – May 10