The final shipment data for the 2012 almond crop shows industry shipments ending with an expected flourish. July shipments were 151.1 million lbs, up 31.4 million lbs and 26% over the prior year. Shipments for the full year were down 1.69%, reflecting the reduction in overall 2012 crop supply. Pricing since early July has reflected the almost complete lack of uncommitted 2012 crop inventory. Only 2-3% of the 2012 crop supply remains uncommitted creating premium pricing on early 2013 crop availability.
Demand in the U.S continues to drive global almond consumption, fueled by both snacking and ingredient applications. The heath & nutrition message, coupled with the versatility of almonds continues to support the growth. For 2012 crop, European consumption remained stable, as expected in a mature market, with shipments increasing significantly in recent months. The most volatility was seen in the Middle East & Africa, with a significant drop in almond shipments vs. the prior year propelled by the unfortunate situation surrounding Syria and the ongoing impact of Iranian economic sanctions. In Asia, China’s string of significant year-over-year growth was impacted by internal naming issues. As a result, kernel shipments to China dropped and inshell shipments increased. Overall demand in Asia was buoyed by growth in Japan, Korea and India.
As harvest of the 2013 crop commences, early results point to very small CPO sizing, consistent with the small kernel weights and dimensions seen in the NASS Objective Estimate. The 2013 crop harvest is earlier than last year, with pollenizer maturation pushing hard on the heels of the Nonpareil variety.
With one more month to go before California almond supply pipelines begin refilling in earnest, limited supplies of both physical inventory and uncommitted inventory continue to put upward pressure on pricing. The uncertainty surrounding availability of 27/30 and larger CPOs is also impacting the ability of California handlers to make commitments for mid and larger sizes.