Almonds: season kicks in with a head start

September 15, 2021 11:58 AM, Der AUDITOR
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SACRAMENTO/MADRID. Although US almond production is expected to range lower, arrivals are currently 14% up on last year. As harvesting started early arrivals have risen. Buyers and Europe and China are taking advantage of large supplies.

Harvesting is progressing well in the US

More than 311.55 million pounds (141,300 mt) of almonds have been harvested so far as the Almond Board of California reports. Last year this figure ranged lower at  272 million pounds (123,400 mt). The crop can, however, only be properly assessed in the next few weeks. Above-average temperatures coupled with water rationing in California, in fact, prompted the National Agricultural Statistics Service to estimate production 12% lower than last year at 2.80bn pounds (1.27 million mt).

Export season starts with a bang

The new season has started off with record exports as the US shipped 207.35 million pounds (94,054 mt) of almonds with and without shell in August, which is 7% up on August 2020. While domestic shipments have, remained reatively firm at 66.56 million pounds (30,190 mt), overseas shipments are 11% up on last year at 140.8 million pounds (63,864 mt).

Issue is that many buyers in Europe and in Asia are seizing on the large supplies and temporarily low prices for last year's crop to build up large stocks for Christmas and New Year without having to wait for the new crop. Shipments to Spain are 10% up on last year at 17 million pounds (7,760 mt) and to Germany 43% up at 13 million pounds (6,115 mt). Exports to China have even risen by 56% to 7 million pounds (3,166 mt). Shipments to India have, by contrast, declined by 10% to 36 million pounds (16,594 mt) and to Italy by 22% to 5.7 million pounds (2,610 mt). 

US almond shipments (1,000 pounds)

















North/South America




Africa/Middle East








ABC, since the start of the season

Firm spot market prices for now

Spot market prices have stabilised again in Europe after rising recently. Natural Valencia almonds, size 12/14 mm, are trading in a range of EUR 4.70-4.75/kg FCA Spain and natural California, SSR 23/25, almonds at EUR 5.65/kg FCA Spain. Market players report that reference prices ranges much higher in the US than last year. Despite logistical challenges and the impact of Covid-19, prices are expected to remain higher this season due to the unprecedented high demand in 2020/2021 and the anticipated decline in production. Tables may, however, turn as it is very well possible that buyers have enough supplies at their disposal to require less in winter.




Valencia, 12/14 mm, natural, Spain


Valencia, 12/14 mm, blanched, Spain


California, SSR, 23/25, natural


California, SSR, 23/25, blanched


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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