California Almond Market Report: April 2023 Shipments Surge, Supply Tightens

Date: 15th May 2024 Category: Latest News, Market Report
California Almond Market Report: April 2023 Shipments Surge, Supply Tightens

California Surprises with Strong April Shipments

California almond shipments defied expectations in April, reaching the second-highest level ever for the month at 241.48 million lbs. This represents a significant 22.4% increase compared to April 2022 (197.26 million lbs).

Exports Drive Growth

The surge in shipments was largely driven by robust export markets, particularly:

  • India: Up 64.5% to 32.92 million lbs.
  • Western Europe: Up 10% to 50.34 million lbs, with Spain leading the growth (up 31%).
  • Middle East: Up significantly, with Turkey (up 104%) and UAE (up 45%) contributing heavily.

Domestic shipments also performed well, rising 14% year-over-year.

Sales Outpace Expectations

New almond sales reached an impressive 218 million lbs in April, far exceeding the 114.6 million lbs recorded in April 2022. This indicates strong and consistent global demand.

Inventory Tightens, Carryout Expected to Fall

With robust sales and shipments, the industry is now 83% sold through its total supply, compared to 76% at the same time last year. Uncommitted inventory has shrunk by 233 million lbs year-over-year, sitting at just 557.7 million lbs. This suggests a carryout (unsold almonds) significantly lower than the targeted 500 million lbs, potentially closer to 450 million lbs.

2023 Crop Nearly Finalized

Crop receipts in April added only 2 million lbs, bringing the total to 2.44 billion lbs. This further strengthens the belief that the 2023 crop is nearing its final size, likely around 2.45 billion lbs.

Looking Ahead: Potential Price Pressure

Despite the positive news on 2023 almonds, a larger 2024 crop (estimated at 3.0 billion lbs) is anticipated. This expectation has already caused downward pressure on new crop prices. However, growers are committed to expanding demand proportionally. A strong finish to 2023 shipments and sales could bolster confidence and potentially mitigate downward pressure if existing or new markets increase consumption.

2023 Carryout Relief, Focus Shifts to 2024

The 2023 crop is expected to be depleted by harvest, unlike the previous year where carry-in created downward price pressure. With a larger 2024 crop on the horizon, opening prices for the new crop are settling slightly below last year's averages. Early and transitional buying activity is already being observed.

Conclusion: Optimism on the Rise

This strong shipping report has instilled confidence in both sellers and buyers. The increasingly balanced supply-demand scenario brings more focus to the upcoming 2024 crop. While estimates point towards a crop size near 3.0 billion lbs, strong demand at current market levels suggests potential for upward price movement on the 2023 crop in the coming month. However, the size and uptake of the 2024 crop will be key factors to monitor.