Almonds: Spain and US, market update

Date: 30th January 2023 Category: Latest News
Almonds: Spain and US, market update

Mundus Agri. Although Spain’s almond exports received a boost in November, the dent in exports is still much higher than in California. Competition between Spain and California remains fierce, with speculations on water supplies and exchange rates being top priorities.


Shipments to Turkey nearly triple

Demand finally picked up and boosted Spain’s exports in November. Monthly exports ranged 7.81% higher than in October (Oct 14,486 mt/31.9 million pounds vs. Nov 15,618 mt/34.4 million pounds). At 55,511 mt (122 million pounds) total exports for August-November 2022 now range a more moderate 7.8% lower than in the same period in 2021/2022. US shipments, by contrast, only declined by 1.9% between August and December 2022/2023 as opposed to the same period in 2021/2022. While shipments to most top ten destinations have declined, Turkey and Switzerland are the noted exceptions.

Shipments to Turkey, in fact, nearly tripled to 1,194 mt (2.6 million pounds) prompted by attractive prices and an uptick in demand in the run-up to a new year. Although Germany replaced France as the leading export destination, shipments to here still ranged 6.5% lower than last year. Exports to France declined by 11.0% and to Italy by 9.3%. Russia no longer ranks in amongst Spain’s top ten export destinations.



Fierce competition

December brought a pleasant surprise as US exports reached 153.9 million pounds (69,808 mt), which is not only 23.6% up on December 2021 but also the second-best December performance after 2020. However, how far Spain will be able to speed up exports in the next few months largely depends on the United States. The issue is that key currencies gained against the US dollar again in December, which helped boost demand, and Turkey stepped up buying for Ramadan 2023. The industry now hopes that the US dollar will remain attractive, that demand will bounce back in China, which has abolished is though anti-Covid stance, and that India will continue buying.

Water supplies are also crucial for this year’s crop. Although snowpack levels range well above average, which is important for California’s water supplies and suggests that the drought will not be quite as bad as last year, caution prevails. The issue is that the heavy rains and storms witnessed in recent weeks have also created extensive damage in some orchards and rained too much for the drought-ridden ground to be able to absorb the volumes appropriately. The consensus is that assessing the situation first before jumping to conclusions is better.


US almonds trade lower in Spain.

Spain, in fact, stepped up imports from the United States by 17.7% between August and December 2022/2023 compared to the same period in 2021/2022. US exports to Spain have, in other words, climbed to 78 million pounds (35,380 mt) this season so far. These imports have created extensive pressure in the market and prompted quotations to come crashing down in recent weeks. While the spot market prices for Spanish varieties are currently trading firm, the prices for US almonds have declined a bit in the last few days.