Blue Diamond Almonds
Global Ingredients Division
2013 Almond Crop Comes Into Focus
The December Position Report issued by the ABC brings the 2013 crop into clearer focus. Receipts for the crop are 1.935 billion lbs and will finish between 1.95 and 2.00 billion lbs. December shipments of 158 million lbs were flat to prior year. Year-To-Date shipments through the first five months are up 50 million lbs, +6%. New commitments reported in December were 107 million lbs, leaving YTD commitments up 53 million lbs, +14% over last year. The 2013 California almond supply is 60% committed entering January.
Domestic shipments are now 10.6% ahead of last year on the strength of a 20% increase in December. Total Europe is up 21%, with growth driven by shipments to Western Europe. China continues to lag prior year demand, now 25% behind last year. The lower volume prior to the Chinese New Year will reduce the impact large inventories had in Hong Kong last spring. Shipments to India are 26% behind last year, however India is already very active in late December and early January. Finally, the Middle East has rebounded from a weak 2012 with 39% year-over-year growth.
As January begins, the traditional pre-bloom risk assessment on the next crop starts. This year the outlook is also impacted by the concern over California’s ongoing drought and its impact on farming. On Thursday, Jan 9, Governor Brown met with his Drought Task Force to determine if an “emergency” declaration is needed to deal with the water shortage. The Sacramento Bee reports, “The dry weather this winter is caused by a strong high-pressure ridge hovering over the Gulf of Alaska that has kept storms out of California. Although a couple of weak storms are expected to make it through the ridge this week, they are expected to bring only clouds, and no rain, to most of the state. Long-range forecasts indicate dry conditions are likely to persist through the month. The last measurable rainfall in the region was .03 inches on December 7.” State water managers have said they expect to deliver just 5% of the water sought by agencies that supply a million acres of irrigated farmland.
Beyond normal pre-bloom jitters and the drought, one additional concern is the ability of the California Nonpareil acreage to repeat the record Nonpareil crop that looks to be produced when 2013 numbers are finalized. The trifecta of pre-bloom concerns will cause California almond growers to cautiously approach the sale of the remainder of the 2013 supply.
Click here to view the entire detailed December Position Report from the Almond Board of California site: