March Shipments Set New Record
This week’s release of March shipment data once again surprised the industry on the high side. Shipments for March 2012 grew 32%, totaling 172.5 million pounds, a new record for March. Year-to-date totals are at 1.343 billion pounds, a 15% increase over the same period last year.
Almond demand growth is a global phenomenon. In the world’s largest almond market, the U.S, shipments are up 6.5% over last year. The E.U. has grown by 8%, the Middle East by 21%. And the Asia-Pacific region, powered by China is up 31%.
The monthly Commitments number is the key indicator of shipments in upcoming months. In March, new commitments were 140 million lbs., continuing their steady climb YTD, the industry has shipped or committed 18% more than last year, equaling 258 million total lbs.
As a result of continued robust growth, a 350 million lb. increase in the 2011 California crop has been quickly absorbed. Projected ending inventories on July 31, will be less than 300 million lbs. or 8 weeks of supply.