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Almonds: sluggish demand dampens mood

September 29, 2022 at 10:40 AM, Der AUDITOR
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MADRID/SACRAMENTO. Spain's almond harvest is progressing, but yields leave much to be desired. Market players are also dissatisfied with the development of demand.

Disappointing summer exports

In Spain, the almond harvest is still in full swing and there are complaints from growers that yields have suffered greatly due to the frost in spring and the drought in summer. Market players, however, are dissatisfied with the development of demand over the summer months and the prospects for the coming months are not rosy either due to the geopolitical situation and the energy crisis.

Spain's almond exports fell in July, but overall are still well above last year's result. In July, 10,290 mt of almonds were exported from Spain, down 8% year-on-year (July 2021: 11,202 mt). The main buyers during this month were Germany (-4% to 2,491 mt), France (-11% to 2,021 mt) and Italy (-18% to 1,447 mt), while other buying countries were the UK (-33% to 431 mt) and Turkey (+676% to 427 mt).

Total exports for this season so far amount to 148,478 mt (+8% yoy). France has become the main customer for Spanish almonds in the 2021/2022 season, importing 34,806 mt, almost a fifth more than last year. Germany, meanwhile, slipped to second place, even though imports also rose by 6% year-on-year to 30,736 mt. Another important buyer is Italy with about 24,835 mt (+3%), followed by the UK (-25% to 6,214 mt), Belgium (+16% to 5,549 mt) and the Netherlands (-7% to 5,053 mt). 

Almond exports, Spain, in mt

Destination

2020/21

2021/22

Diff.

France

29,164

34,806

19.3%

Germany

28,962

30,736

6.1%

Italy

24,111

24,835

3.0%

UK

8,226

6,214

-24.5%

Belgium

4,772

5,549

16.3%

Netherlands

5,458

5,053

-7.4%

Poland

4,564

4,821

5.6%

Portugal

4,000

4,764

19.1%

USA

3,230

3,032

-6.1%

Turkey

578

2,744

374.9%

Others

24,502

25,923

5.8%

Total

137,566

148,478

7.9%

Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism; 01/08/2021-31/07/2022

Prices are rising

The higher prices are slowly reaching the European market. Up to now, there were still traders who demanded comparatively low prices for Spanish as well as Californian almonds. Spanish Valencias, 12/14 mm currently cost at least EUR 4.50/kg FCA Spain and the Carmel and Nonpareil varieties have become up to EUR 0.20/kg more expensive in the European spot market compared to last week.

Almonds

Type

EUR/kg

Valencia, 12/14 mm, natural, Spain

4.50-4.60

Valencia, +14 mm, natural, Spain

4.70-4.80

Nonpareil, Extra no 1, 23/25, USA

6.35

Carmel, SSR, 23/25, USA

4.80

FCA Spain

India keeps imports up

Despite inflation, currency losses and ongoing supply difficulties in the international market, experts believe India's demand for almonds is unlikely to be affected. The USDA's local Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) estimates India's almond imports for the 2022/2023 season at 148,000 mt, the USDA's own official data is not yet available. This would be a minimal decrease compared to last year (2021/2022: 149,000 mt). India itself harvests an average of just 4,500 mt of almonds per year and is dependent on imports to meet domestic demand. This is even estimated at 155,000 mt for the 2022/2023 season. Unsurprisingly, India sourced 125,359 mt or 84% of its almond imports from the USA in the 2021/2022 season, followed by Australia (12,360 mt) and the United Arab Emirates (4,966 mt).

"Vegan" almonds from Australia?

Meanwhile, Australian almond farmers are trying out methods to no longer rely exclusively on bees to pollinate their plantations. One such trial field is located in Merbein South in the Australian state of Victoria and is about 9 hectares in size and has now borne fruit for the first time after seven years. Every second row was planted with self-pollinating almond trees of the Mira variety, the others with a classic cross-pollinated variety.

This decision has not only economic reasons. Rising prices for the rental of bee colonies are one aspect; at the same time, the movement of bee colonies from New South Wales to other Australian states has been banned after pests were discovered there in July. Nevertheless, according to the growers, bees are still needed to cover a plantation of this size, but far fewer than usual.

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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, 12-14 mm, Valencia
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price chart almonds, natural, 27-30, California SSR

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