January 8, 2024
Market & Crop Update - Almonds
While December weather was dry, January started with a long, sustaining rainfall this week. It will need to continue as the current snow-pack is at 52% to normal as of 1/08/24. Another storm is forecasted to arrive this Wednesday which could bring another 8” to 12” of much-needed snow in the Sierras.
The market has been quiet through the holiday season. Growers have been waiting to sell as they assess crop receipts. With 1.87 billion pounds received to date versus 2.15 billion pounds last year, the crop appears below the Objective Estimate of 2.60 billion pounds. The crop was roughly a month late to harvest, finishing in mid-December, leading to discussions on the crop size being off. With the "December Shipment Report" due this week, everyone is waiting for another strong position report.
To recap where the industry is at year to date, November shipments of 238 million pounds marked the second-strongest November for shipments in almond history. This is +16.6% over last November and brings total shipments year-to-date to 915 million pounds, +9.55% ahead of last year. Exports continue to drive shipments, with 178 million pounds shipped in November, a +24.7% increase over last year. This puts export shipments year-to-date +13.94% ahead of last year. Domestic shipments fell somewhat, off -2.0% to 60.4 million pounds, versus 61.6 million pounds shipped last November. Domestic shipments are trailing slightly, -1.09% from last year at this time.
Commitments for the new crop are currently 647.4 million pounds, a decrease of -6.3% from last year’s 691.2 million. Export commitments are flat (-0.76%) at 378 million pounds compared to last year’s 381 million. Meanwhile, domestic commitments are significantly lower at -13.2%, with 269.4 million pounds versus 310 million pounds a year ago. At of the end of November, uncommitted inventory was 1.067 billion pounds, down -24.7% versus 1.42 billion pounds last year, another indicator that the crop may be smaller than last year.
Despite the lack of offers, new sales for November reached 208 million pounds, a +4% increase over last November’s 200.6 million sold. While new crop offers remain available for close-by shipments through the first quarter of 2024, sellers have yet to open up to selling too much further out without a premium being added. Pricing is expected to remain firm through bloom.
Upcoming Industry Milestones
- Position Report: January 11, 2024
Almond Market Trends - Week 01 Update
- Three straight months of strong shipments have put the industry ahead of last year by almost 10%. With strong crop sales continuing, the market will remain firm through March.
- With crop receipts down and demand ahead of a year ago, this should lead to a much lower carry-out for next year. This would bring supply back into balance with demand sooner than expected.
- Shipments remain ahead of last year and, from a global perspective, demand is consistently strong as consumption continues to trend positively overall. Market firmness should remain in place for the foreseeable future.
- With the USA being the largest market for almonds, consumption continues to be in question as consumer purchasing patterns may be affected by inflation and lack of retail promotions. How will the industry address this in 2024 is on everyone’s mind.
- With offers hard to find for certain sizes (namely 27/30 and smaller), overall inquiries have been limited. Some customers will not be able to convert to larger sizes overnight. This could weaken demand, taking some customers out of the market.
- Shipping issues, due to the unrest in the Middle East, have caused delays with shipping routes being completely disrupted. We are already seeing costs rise similar to two years ago. While not to the extent of the pandemic, it is certainly cause for alarm.