Almonds Status – August 2017
California almond handlers ended the 2016 season with record July shipments of 154.0 million lbs. This is up 11.1% from 138.6 million lbs shipped last July. They can now tally total 2016 season shipments at 2101 million lbs, 16.0% ahead of 2015 shipments.
A few observations on the July numbers; all major regions showed gains in July versus a year ago, domestic shipments up 13% showing continued strength, Indian shipments up 16% but likely not by enough to dampen enthusiasm in the local market, Chinese shipments up 37% signaling increasing appetite as traders get back to business. In summary a strong season for demand as prices for the 2016 season remained range bound and affordable to all markets. With channels relatively empty most anticipate momentum will continue into the 2017 season.
Since last month’s report, prices have increased by about 15 cents per lb. As anticipated, heavy buying emerged after the moderate Objective forecast of 2250 million lbs and then the June report showed stronger than expected shipments. Export buyers have also been helped by a weaker dollar and there has been little reason to hold back.
Harvest has begun as the south is just starting to see the first nonpareil deliveries at the huller. Not much to report yet. Their first inshell production is showing good size, but too early to comment on yields. The general grower consensus is that it will be a decent crop consistent with the Objective forecast.
Such report will likely keep prices firm. Shipments and new commitments are robust. Over the next few weeks California will start to get a picture of nonpareil yields and a picture of 2017 crop will start to coalesce. All know, however, that a reliable number will not really known until December or so. Meanwhile the market will feed on shipment reports, which will likely be strong for at least the next few months.