Did you know that name for Almonds in China is changing to Ba Dan Mu? Protectionism, by their bitter Apricot kernel industry, was the driver of this coming change.
Through December 2012 almond crop receipts are 1.74 billion lbs. We now project the full 2012 crop to be less than 1.85 billion pounds — significantly short of the 2.1 Billion NASS estimate.
Shipments are as strong as they can be, given the limited supply. Shipments were up 1% in December and are down 1% YTD. We project current year shipments will continue to trend very close to last year’s 1.9 billion lbs., resulting in reduced ending inventories.
• The U.S. continues to trend ahead of last year, with 5% YTD growth
• China continues to grow faster than the rest of the world, with 10% YTD growth
• India is up only 2% YTD, but is expected to grow faster in the second half
• Europe is down slightly (4%), but is lightly committed for the second half and expected to show strong demand through the Spring
• The Middle East continues to trail prior year’s shipment patterns due to political instability and economic sanctions in Iran… it is doubtful this region could have grown in 2012 under any circumstances given their reliance on the reduced Nonpareil crop.
Doing the math between receipts, shipments & reported commitments, the 2012 crop is over 60% committed. Prices have been rising steadily through December and early January, reflecting the tightening supply.
Our outlook is that worldwide demand will continue to put pressure on the limited supply, driving an upward pricing trend.