Almond Market Update – May 2023
The Almond Board of California released the April 2023 position report:
Shipments were 197.2 million lbs. vs. 245.2 Million lbs. in 2022 – DOWN 19.6% for the month, bringing YTD to 3.5% UP
U.S. -9% (-6.1% YTD)
Exports -23.2% (+7.6% YTD)
Western Europe -33% (-4% YTD)
India -29% (+2% YTD)
Middle East / Africa -38% (+50% YTD)
China / Hong Kong/ Vietnam +38% (+16% YTD)
Japan +24% (-15% YTD)
South Korea +79% (-26% YTD)
Canada -24% (-10% YTD)
Central / Eastern Europe +94% (+26% YTD)
Latin America / Caribbean -8% (+1% YTD)
April Shipments – Industry members were expecting the shipments below last year, following several big months, but this came below expectations.
April Sales were 114.7 million lbs. vs. 168 million lbs. in April 2022. Low sales were expected once again, as sellers were hesitant, and many buyers waited for crop estimates and additional info.
Committed (Unshipped) stood at 565 million lbs., sitting 25% below last year’s 755 million lbs.
Sold / Shipped Combined was 2.56 billion lbs. vs. 2.68 billion lbs. a year ago – down 4.6%
The Industry Sold Position was 76.3% of total supply – just below the 77.3% from a year ago.
The 2023 crop outlook remains pessimistic with most industry members expecting low average yields. We’ll get our first official estimate tomorrow. While we think the objective carries more weight, tomorrow’s report is highly anticipated.
Recently released was the Land IQ Acreage Report, NASS Acreage Report, and Nursery Survey. Links to the full reports are at the bottom. While not perfect data, these give insights into trends, which point toward increased removals, decreased new plantings, and slower bearing acreage growth.
Nursery Survey results point toward a decrease in tree sales of 40% from 2 years ago.
LAND IQ Estimates 77,714 Acres Removed. This figure assumes 19,400 additional acres removed between April and August 31. Many orchards are coming out late this year due to the wet winter preventing equipment from getting in, as well as additional acreage damaged by spring storms (wind, water, etc. cause more tree death and blow overs), so we think the final number of removals will be considerably higher. If their estimated removal figures are correct, it would point toward 1.366 million bearing acres. NASS estimates 1.38 million acres.
The bearing acres for 2022 were 1.35 Million, so the current Land IQ figure points to a minor increase in bearing acreage. We could possibly see flat acreage if the removals between now and harvest are more in-line with our expectations. Regardless, the industry is not seeing the significant increases (i.e. 70,000 acres per year) that we saw just a few years ago.
Harvest timing still looks about 2 weeks late. The Spring has remained cool.
Some markets slowed following several strong months.
China had another good month, shipping mostly earlier purchases that were bought before the prices rose. Buyers there have been inquiring more lately, so activity to the region could increase soon.
India showed a decline in shipments though they have been gradually buying small amounts. At some point a more significant increase in activity is expected.
Europe showed a decline though they have remained somewhat active buying over the past month. It’s expected they have more buying to do.
The Middle East / North Africa slowed following several strong months, though we have seen some minor buying activity from the region recently.
The U.S. showed another poor performing month, despite more retail promotions and discounts.
On the bright side for the U.S. market, today the USDA announced a $75 Million solicitation for purchase of California almonds through their Section 32 program (for distribution to various nutrition assistance programs). The Almond Alliance continues to do great work for the industry.
The shipping figure today was disappointing. All sales months can’t be records and the silver lining is that this may bring more selling interest and thus lead to better shipping months down the road.
Today’s report increases the importance of the 2023 crop outlook and tomorrow’s subjective estimate. Growers seem pessimistic about the crop outlook, but we’ll see what tomorrow’s report shows.
Paul Ewing Dennis Soares
NASS Subjective Estimate – Friday May 12, 2023
May Position Report – Friday June 9, 2023
NASS Objective Estimate – Friday July 7, 2023