Almond Market Update – September 2021
The Almond Board of California released the August 2021 position report
Shipments were 207.3 million lbs. vs. 193 million in 2020 – UP 7.4% for the month & another record
Western Europe +14%
Middle East / Africa +14%
China / Hong Kong/ Vietnam +89%
South Korea +121%
Central / Eastern Europe -17%
Latin America / Caribbean -23%
The 2021 Crop
Crop receipts are, as usual, highly varied by region. Our receipts through the Huller (PAPC) where we have field to field comparisons vs. 2020, show down 22% on 7 million lbs. of mature Nonpareil (includes everything that was 5th leaf and older last year), down 18% on 2 million lbs. of Wood Colony. Independence have a lot of young acreage and are up 17% on mature blocks and up 50% overall. These receipts largely reflect the crop in the areas of the westside and Madera/Chowchilla. The Sacramento valley seems to be fairing similar to our area overall. The southwest where there are considerable water issues, also seems to be fairing similar to us. In the southeast we hear better reports with perhaps decline of 5-10%. On the east side results are mixed and too early to say, but appear quite a bit better than our area.
Insect Damage shows 1.82% which is slightly down from a year ago. There have been late flights of navel orange worm and we expect the overall damage on later harvested material will reflect an increase in insect damage. We are seeing highly varied incoming quality with many lots coming in below 1% damage, even below 0.50% damage, and some lots coming in with 4-5% or significantly higher.
Drought continues to be a major concern for the health of the trees and potential for 2022 crop. Below are some graphics showing the water situation and a video showing the impact on a westside almond orchard.
August Shipments – forecasts once again were high and the record 207M came in on the low end of expectations, due to significant vessel delays.
August Sales were 138 million lbs. vs. 288 million lbs. in August 2020 and 193 million lbs. in August 2019.
Committed (Unshipped) stood at 716 million lbs. – down 32% from the 1.06 billion lbs. a year ago
Sold / Shipped Combined was 923.6 million lbs. – down 26% from the 1.25 billion a year ago
The Industry Sold Position on 2021 Crop was 27.6% of total supply – down from 35.6% a year ago.
Sellers were more cautious participating this August compared to a year ago, for several reasons. One is the large price spike causing some sellers to slow down sales as they had significant sales at lower prices. Others were concerned about the drought and it’s possible impact on the 2021 crop and beyond. Low levels of call pool grower support has also contributed to lower volume of offers from handlers.
Buyers were also cautious about participating in recent weeks, some with sticker shock with the new price levels. Many sellers are pointing out that 2020 crop was the unusual season with the lowest prices in 12 years and these 2021 crop levels are more normal again, not at all high in seller’s minds. Overall sold position as a percentage of supply is more historically normal compared to last year’s high figure.
Currencies – the US Dollar Index has been stable recently.
The shipping difficulties seem as bad as ever right now. We are facing a lack of space on vessels and sometimes can’t book for more than a month out, only to have the booking cancelled right around the time of shipment. It’s not clear how this is going to play into the market, but buyers should consider the possibility of significant delays to be on the safe side.
Despite the challenges, monthly shipments were another record and total supply is forecasted off 4.4% (using the NASS Objective figure). We are just one month into the season and should gradually get a clearer picture of the supply and demand outlook.
Paul Ewing Dennis Soares
September Position Report – Tuesday, October 12