By Bill Morecraft,
Blue Diamond Almonds Global Ingredient Division
May 2013 shipments for the California almond industry were 131 million pounds, a decrease of 10% compared to prior year shipments of 145 million pounds. Year to date shipments are 1,578 billion pounds, which is down 3.6% for the year versus prior year. Receipts announced in the shipment report for crop year 2012 remain at 1,880 billion pounds, a decline of 7% from last year. In spite of lighter May exports, shipments for the year will consume the entire 2012 crop supply and cut into the ending inventory.
We anticipate shipments for June will be near record levels, contributing to a very tight transition to the new crop. Currently, there are a number of products that are unavailable until new crop harvest .
Since the INC meeting in Barcelona, the almond industry has seen an increase in prices ranging from $.10 – $.20 cents per pound depending on the product. This activity has pulled up early new crop pricing.
Inventories in many markets are at record lows. With anticipation for new crop pricing to be at lower levels than for prompt deliveries, strong demand for early shipments should keep market prices firm.
Markets including China, India and the EU have depleted stocks and require early shipments to meet traditional demand. The U.S. continues to enjoy steady growth as seen throughout the year. Almonds have become a daily staple in the diet for many Americans, whether consumed raw, as a seasoned snack, or as an ingredient in a finished product.
With a strong finish to the 2012 crop year, almond consumption remains healthy, and demand continues to rise, in spite of unique problems in some regions. Markets showing excellent growth include India, Japan, Korea and Russia. These increases illustrate the broad appeal of California almonds, a product not reliant on any single market or region.
The NASS Objective Estimate will be issued on July 1 and the June shipment report on July 11. Most believe the 2013 harvest will be one week to 10 days earlier than last year. As we continue to experience one of the warmest and driest spring conditions in years, many in the industry are concerned regarding water availability moving into the summer and fall seasons. For a comprehensive report on the new crop visit our latest Bloom Report.