Nuts

Almonds: new crop a mixed blessing

October 18, 2023 at 9:44 AM , Der AUDITOR
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MADRID/SACRAMENTO. For California, the tide has turned as the late crop is turning out to be a blessing in disguise for the almond industry. Crop receipts surged in September and shipments are up. Spain is buying more almonds in the USA this season.

New US crop pros and cons

Crop receipts, in fact, rose to 625 million pounds as the September Position Report issued by the California Almond Board shows. Although this is 36% down on last year, the figure certainly outweighs the 70 million pounds registered in August. Arrivals are picking up and the late crop has become a boon for the industry as sales have been quite robust and carry-out supplies have been shipped, which helps to bring down the enormous figure exceeding 800 million pounds the industry was so afraid of. Arrivals will pick up in the coming weeks. Apart from this, growers are still hurrying to bring in the remaining almonds as quickly as possible. The intermittent rain showers witnessed throughout September were anything but good for the crop, which is running around 15 days late. Reports state that time is required to assess the quality and yields of this year’s production.

Demand not out of the woods yet

September was a strong month as shipments ranged 15.6% higher than last year and 2.7% higher than in August at nearly 218 million pounds. Year-to-date shipments are 3.1% up on last year nearly touching 430 million pounds, mainly driven by domestic shipments that have risen by 6% to 124 million pounds. Total exports only climbed by 1.9% to 305 million pounds as compared with the 299 million pounds registered last year. Euphoric as the industry is over this rebound in domestic demand, caution also prevails as buyers are focused on short-term purchases driven by the uncertainty over the new crop along with inflation impacting food retail prices that may weigh on consumer spending.

Shipments to India have surged by 32% as demand started off strong in the season. Demand has, however, slowed in recent weeks with new crop supplies arriving and buyers now taking their time to review initial shipments over quality concerns as Blue Diamond Almonds report. Shipments to Spain, the Netherlands and Italy have also surged notably, whereas the increase is more moderate in Germany. While demand is normalising in Europe and October shipments are expected to be strong, economic factors may very well limit demand. Shipments to China and Hong Kong have, by contrast, declined sharply. The Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated at the end of September subdued market activities and buyers have turned their attention towards other nuts such as pistachios or macadamias in recent weeks. Demand should, however, pick up again as volumes need to be shipped now to arrive in time for Chinese New Year. US exports to the United Arab Emirates have also declined sharply as the Middle East market still holds large inventories and quality issues are slowing buying. Demand is expected to revive in the next few weeks as importers need to prepare for Ramadan, which will start in March.

US almond shipments in 1,000 lbs

Destination

2022/23

2023/24

Diff.

USA

117,176

124,266

6.0%

India

55,998

73,741

31.7%

Spain

33,530

27,483

41.6%

Germany

20,827

22,609

8.5%

UAE

25,313

19,409

-23.4%

China/Hong Kong

27,675

16,547

-40.3%

Netherlands

10,099

15,583

54.3%

Italy

11,959

14,304

19.6%

Canada

10,527

11,343

7.7%

Japan

8,001

11,061

38.2%

Others

125,759

93,333

-25.8%

Total

416,687

429,679

3.1%

California almonds, 01/08-30/09
Shelled and inshell

Prices still attractive in Spain

Production in Spain ranges at around 90,000 mt (198 million pounds) according to recent estimates stating that around 30% of the crop have been lost to high temperatures and drought in summer. While prices tended to reach a peak in September in the past three years, they are still on the rise this time round. The prices for natural Valencia almonds have, for instance, climbed to EUR 3.75/kg (USD 393/kg) FCA Spain and for California SSR almonds size 27-30 to EUR 4.19/kg (USD 4.53/kg) FCA Spain. Yet, it should be noted that the current price levels still range well below the rates witnessed in the past ten years.

Almonds

Conventional

EUR/kg

USD/kg

Valencia, 12/14 mm, natural, Spain

3.75

3.93

Valencia, +14 mm, natural, Spain

4.40

4.61

Guara, 12/14 mm, natural, Spain

3.80

3.98

California, SSR, 27/30, natural, USA

4.32

4.53

Carmel, SUP, 23/25.USA

4.75

4.98

FCA Spain

 

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price chart, almonds, natural, +14, Valencia
price chart, almonds, natural 13/14, Largueta
price chart, almonds, blanched, 27/30, California SSR
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price chart almonds natural Valencia 12-14 Spain

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