Almond Market Update
By Bill Morecraft
General Manager Global Ingredients Division
August almond shipments showed a meaningful gain of 6% versus prior year as the 2012 crop was cleared out. Domestic shipments continued to show strength against prior year with growth of 5%.
Industry commitments through August represent 30% of the projected almond crop vs. 25% last year. After some early corrections, market pricing appears to be stabilizing as the harvest progresses. With the size of nuts smaller this year, the gap on pricing between mid-range and small sizes will be large throughout the year. Large CPOs will be in very short supply.
In addition to the strong domestic shipments in August, shipments to China were robust, growing 43% and 5.3 million lbs over last year. Demand for both inshell and kernels have been steady throughout August and early September.
Despite ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, shipments to key import destinations were up 20%, a positive development and reversal from last year’s declining shipments.
The EU also showed growth as shipments expanded 10%, although this reflects shorter-term commitments versus a sustainable increase in demand.
Crop receipts were up significantly over last year, however it is much too early to draw any conclusions. The NASS estimate of 1.85 billion pounds still appears to be the best working projection.
The prospects for the 2013 almond supply continue to indicate a no-growth year, with some substantial shifts in CPO availability due to small sizing. The early strong start to shipments will inevitably be drawn back to an ultimate shipment number that looks more like the last two years. The next significant inputs to pricing and availability trends will occur as the industry gets deeper into harvest by the end of October, and gets an early look at fall and winter precipitation.