February 11, 2013
The California almond industry shipped 156.5 million pounds for the month of January, 2% ahead of January last year. Current year crop receipts are 1.839 billion pounds, 4% behind prior year, continuing to project a final total below 1.9 billion pounds.
The U.S. is driving industry growth, up 19 million pounds over prior year at this time. Export sales are down 3% from last year. European shipments for January were flat, with year-to-date volumes off 3%. Middle East shipments for January were robust, up 27% over January last year, but still off 22% on a year-to-date basis.
Reported commitments jumped 200 million pounds in January versus 130 million pounds last year. The industry is now 70% committed, reinforcing the outlook for declining ending inventories and a tight transition supply.
Overall, there is continuing demand for coverage for the remaining 8 months before new crop arrives in many markets. The California industry needs a good bloom to insure price stability. Most projection models show California production for the 2013 crop between 1.8 – 2.2 billion pounds, with the trend line settling at just over 2 billion lbs. Until we navigate both bloom and the critical post-bloom period, there is still upside risk on pricing.
With the bloom just around the corner, look for my latest reports, “In The Almond Orchard,” posted here as conditions change.