Nuts

Almonds: pessimistic turn

April 26, 2023 at 9:57 AM , Der AUDITOR
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MADRID/SACRAMENTO. Frost may not have caused any damages, but this is as far as the good news goes for almonds in Spain. First guestimates have been issued in California, where sentiments are turning more pessimistic.

Heatwave hits Spain

After an exceptionally dry and warm winter Spain is currently witnessing the first heatwave this year, one month earlier than in 2022, with temperatures expected to hit 40C (104F) in some areas. Producers also highlight that the country is suffering from very severe drought. COAG, the main Spanish farmers’ association, reckons that 60% of the countryside were already affected by drought at the start of April. Not only are some cereals including wheat and barley expected to fail entirely in the regions of Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Murcia but olives are also severely impacted. Problems, in addition, loom large for nuts and vineyards.

Almond producers state that the prolonged drought will not only have dire consequences for dry farming but also for irrigated farms as water allocations have been restricted. Expectation is that any crop estimates presented at the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Congress in May will have to be reduced at harvest time. Spain’s production already suffered from drought and excessive heat last year and ranged 43% lower than in 2021 at 60,000 mt.

Exports take a dip

This puts exports into perspective, which could be far worse. Monthly shipments, in fact, only ranged at 10,402 mt in February, which is a 13% drop on the 11,938 mt exported in February 2022. At 86,562 mt total exports for the season range a more nominal 8% below the volumes shipped last year. Shipments to all top 10 destinations have declined - with the noted exception of Turkey and Switzerland. France remained the most important export destination in February, followed by Germany and Italy.

Almond exports, Spain (in mt)

Destination

2021/22

2022/23

Diff

France

22,954

20,112

-12.4%

Germany

20,061

18,447

-8.1%

Italy

15,937

14,962

-6.2%

UK

3,910

3,360

-14.1%

Portugal

3,440

3,112

-9.6%

Poland

3,009

2,962

-1.6%

Belgium

3,658

2,785

-23.9%

Netherlands

3,017

2,324

-23.0%

Turkey

797

1,828

129.4%

Switzerland

1,610

1,646

2.2%

Others

15,877

15,024

-5.4%

Total

94,270

86,562

-8.2%

Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Spain, 01/08-28/02

Pessimistic outlook in California

Suppliers have also trashed any hopes that the persistent wet and cold weather conditions in winter and during the crucial bloom phase may be prove good for the crop in California, although drought is not an issue. While initial guesstimates of 2.66 billion pounds sounded an optimistic note for the 2023 crop, sellers are currently acting on more pessimistic figures, that predict a smaller crop of around 2.29 billion pounds and average yields of around 1,650 pounds per acre. Prices have risen accordingly with diced California almonds trading at EUR 5.31/kg (USD 5.85/kg) EXW Netherlands. Although this season’s low prices are certainly a thing of the past for now at least, it should be noted that it is still too early for reliable estimates and that a lot may happen in the next few months.

 

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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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