Senior Vice President
The April Almond Board Position Report reported record shipments for April at 177 million lbs, just ahead of last year’s record. YTD shipments are now at 1.766 billion lbs vs, last year through April at 1.792 billion lbs. Domestic shipments are up 1.6% YTD, with export shipment dipping 2.85%. The export dip is limited considering both China and Turkey suffering reductions of more than 30% due to ongoing trade issues.
With the 2018 crop leveling off at 2.265 billion lbs, the most telling numbers in the April report are the commitments and remaining uncommitted inventory. Commitments are 60 million lbs greater than last year, leaving uncommitted inventory 65 million lbs or 15% less than last year at the end of last April.
2018 crop ending inventory projects to dip below last year’s 360 million lbs. The California industry is feeling a tight transition very similar to what was experienced last year. As commitments are converted to shipments, the shortages in June, July and August will become more severe.
Today, the NASS Subjective Estimate was released at 2.5 billion lbs for the 2019 crop on forecasted bearing acres of 1,170,000. A crop of 2.5 billion would represent a 10% increase in receipts.
The tight ending inventories of 2018 crop will press pricing upward through the summer. With a 2.5 billion lbs estimate for 2019 crop, California supplies will be less restricted.
With a larger supply, shipments of California almonds should expand by 5-10% next year. Historical performance has been at the upper end of that spectrum.
Transition pricing will be tricky, with 2018 crop prices reflecting shortage and 2019 crop beginning with an uptick in projected supply from the prior two years.