Almond Industry Update – March 17, 2015

North 3-16-15-3The February Almond Board Position report shows 2014 crop receipts winding down as expected. February receipts of 16 million pounds pushed the crop just over 1.85 million pounds. Remaining receipts will slow to a trickle, leaving the 2014 crop total materially unchanged.

The labor dispute at West Coast ports reached a tentative agreement on February 20; the long process of restoring volumes through the ports began slowly at the end of the month. In spite of the logistical bottlenecks, almond shipments for the month were 139.9 million pounds, rebounding by more than 20 percent from January. March and April exports will increase significantly with total shipments in March exceeding last year’s shipments.

Markets in the U.S., India, China and Middle East have all been active buyers in early 2015. Current month shipments to Asia and the Middle East reflect some recovery from the early deficits against prior year. EU shipments will partially recover in the latter months, but remain well below last year’s shipments that were impacted by a weak Spanish crop.

Year to date commitments are 15 percent up from prior year, with the 2014 supply slightly over 70 percent sold. For the balance of the year, almond shipments from California will be relatively flat to last year, resulting in carry-out inventories of approximately 425 million pounds.

After rising through January and early February, almond prices leveled in late February. The next movement will come in response to March shipments, and subsequently as nut set and tree health can be physically observed later in spring. California almond supplies will gradually tighten over the summer. It appears that it will be at least one more year before there is significant growth in total supply, in spite of a projected larger 2014 crop carryout.