Senior Vice President
The industry shipment number issued by the Almond Board of California reports December shipments at 156.2 million pounds, an increase of 15% over last December. Year to date shipments stand at 950 million pounds, an increase of 34% compared to last year. Shipments were strong in all regions, as good supply and affordable prices ignited robust demand. For year to date shipments, Nonpareil kernels and inshell led the way in fueling strong shipments through the Fall. Domestic shipments were up over 15%, supporting increased consumer consumption since retail prices began to soften. All export regions enjoyed strong shipments year to date as buyers bought heavily for festival and holiday consumption in various markets. Currently, India and other Asian markets are starting to replenish stocks after strong holiday sales. The same is expected from China after the Chinese New Year celebration at the end of January.
Receipts reached 2.06 billion pounds. Based on recent history, the final 2016 crop will be close to 2.1 billion pounds. This is quite close to the NASS Objective Estimate of 2.05 billion, given the variables of increasing acreage and changing growing conditions. New commitments increased by 104 million lbs last month. The California almond industry remains well ahead of previous years in both shipments and commitments.
The bloom period begins within 4-6 weeks. California is enjoying one of the wettest winters in years. Although the latest storm was a pineapple express (warm storm) bringing ample rain, it has been followed by a large snowfall in the North and Central Sierras to build the snowpack.
Market Perspective –
The 2016 crop is being consumed at a rate that indicates an ending inventory flat to last year at ~ 400 million lbs.
Prices have been trading in tight ranges over the last 90 days.
With bloom approaching, that pattern should continue until there is a better sense of the 2017 supply. We expect to see tightness in Nonpareil supply before the 2016 crop year is over.