February 2, 2024
Market & Crop Update - Almonds
With the almond bloom only days away now, California is experiencing its first "Atmospheric River" (used to be called the "Pineapple Express" until the movie came out) of the season. Several inches of rain have already fallen over the last two days with more expected through the first part of next week. The storm brings help for the snowpack as snow is expected to be down to 4,000 feet this weekend. The industry will be watching the weather anxiously for the next 3 weeks to judge the outcome of the almond bloom.
Next Friday, the "January Shipment Report" will be released by the Almond Board of California. The December report stated crop receipts of 361 million pounds received for the month, which brought receipts up to 2.23 billion pounds, down 6.2% from last year. Expectations suggest a crop size likely to surpass 2.4 billion pounds.
Shipments have kept pace through Q4 of 2023 and into January. Next week's report should reflect something close to 230 million pounds. Furthermore, the industry is in a positive position going into bloom with 1.145 billion pounds shipped to date and 9.87% ahead of last year at this time. With decreasing crop production and strong shipments for a third year in a row now, the industry can afford to wait for the bloom before resuming sales. If sales and shipments continue at the current pace, we could see a carry-out fall below 550 million pounds, which could put the industry back on track with supply matching demand.
For comparison to next week’s position report, domestic shipments in December were 56.68 million pounds, up 8% versus last year’s 52.47 million pounds. This brings domestic shipments flat to last year (+0.52%). Export shipments were 172.72 million pounds, which is 12.2% up versus last year’s 153.88 million pounds. Export shipments have improved month over month for the fourth straight month and represent the second-strongest December in history. We can see China/HK/Vietnam with a sizable increase, up 391% FTM and 21% YTD, in anticipation of the Chinese New Year on February 10th. All key destinations stayed ahead YTD. Total exports are up 13.59% YTD.
Sales & Commitments: Total sales for the month were 219.42 million pounds, down 7% versus last year’s sales of 234.91 million pounds. Lower sales in December may be attributed to the recent increased bullishness of sellers and lack of willingness to offer out for further periods. This will change following the completion of the bloom if the weather permits!
Commitments for the new crop year stand at 637.43 million pounds, which is down 11% versus the 719.71 million pounds from last year, which will be in line if the crop is lower than last year’s crop size. Uncommitted inventory currently sits at 1.20 billion pounds, down 14.4% versus last year’s 1.40 billion pounds. This number continues to move upward due to the late harvest, delaying receipts by ~1 month.
Upcoming Industry Milestones
- Position Report: February 9, 2024
Almond Market Trends - Week 05 Update
- Strong shipments in the fourth quarter have put the industry ahead of last year by almost 10%.
- January shipments are estimated to be equal to or stronger than last year’s as well.
- With crop yields down three consecutive years, this has led to pricing pressure as demand is now more in line with the current supply.
- The industry has taken its foot off the pedal with weaker sales in December, which may slow down shipments in February and beyond. Last February and March were record shipments, which will make it hard to keep up with.
- Weather is lining up to be good for the bloom despite rain this week. Temperatures were in the 70s the last week of January. With almond bloom only a few days away, the "El Nino" appears to be lining things up for perfect bloom weather.
- Shipping issues are increasing due to the unrest in the Middle East and are escalating with delays in transit times and rising costs. This has also spread to increased energy costs.