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Almonds: sales exceed crop intake

January 31, 2024 at 10:08 AM , Der AUDITOR
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LOXTON/SACRAMENTO. Despite the 2023 almond crop proving an utter disaster, shipments have outsold production in Australia. With the almond bloom just around the corner all eyes are on the weather in California.

Sales defy slump in Australia

Australia witnessed a disastrous crop in 2023 with production slumping by 27% to 103,381 mt. Yet shipments are very strong and have even outsold the crop nine months into the season. Total shipments, in fact, range 7% higher than last year at 112,096 mt. Exports stand 8% higher at 85,944 mt and domestic shipments 5% higher at 19,697 mt. Contrary to this, monthly shipments dipped by 9% to 9,619 mt in November 2023 as compared with the same month in 2022. China has remained the most important export destination for Australia, despite shipments taking a 32% hit. Contrary to this, shipments to India have risen by a stunning 140% and have nearly doubled to Vietnam.

With the harvest about to kick off suppliers are busy clearing their warehouses to make space for the anticipated record crop of 165,700 mt (kernel weight equivalent). Some growers have already started harvesting. Average yields are being reported in the orchards and annual production is bound to exceed 200,000 mt in the next three to five years. Challenge is not only that processing facilities need to be built, for which work is well underway, but also that demand needs to be increased. The Almond Board of Australia is targeting China, India and Europe along with the UK, the Middle East and South Asia.

Almond shipments, Australia (mt)

Destination

2021/22

2022/23

Diff.

China

46,838

31,679

-32.4%

Australia

18,831

19,697

4.6%

India

7,135

17,138

140.2%

Vietnam

5,203

9,926

90.8%

Spain

5,918

9,174

55.0%

Turkey

3,311

8,635

160.8%

Germany

2,917

3,022

3.6%

USA

1,812

2,634

45.4%

UAE

2,926

1,798

-38.6%

Netherlands

1,039

1,282

23.4%

New Zealand

1,590

1,234

-22.4%

Others

7,255

5,877

-19.0%

Total

104,775

112,096

7.0%

Almond Board of Australia, 01/03-30/11, Kernel Weight Equivalent (KWE)

Pre-bloom weather concerns in California

In California all eyes are on the weather with the bloom about to start in around two weeks. Although there have been quite a few rainy days rainfall and snowpack have remained below average this winter. With storms forecast next week flooding may occur in some areas, which would spell bad news. Shipments have been strong in recent months and are expected to remain so in January with estimates ranging at 230 million pounds. Sales, however, started to slow in December and it will be hard for suppliers to keep up with the record volumes shipped in February and March last year.

Sellers are currently waiting to see what the weather will be like during the crucial bloom period before issuing offers for the third quarter. The late crop has fallen short of the anticipated 2.6 billion pounds with estimates ranging at 2.3-2.4 billion pounds. While demand has been strong this season so far and domestic demand has revived, concerns are being voiced over the fact that smaller sizes are difficult to come by, which may impact customer confidence as manufacturers cannot simply change their product lines. The escalating Red Sea crisis is, in addition, not only delaying shipments and driving up transportation costs but has also impacted energy costs this winter as Olam reports.

 

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