2019 California Almond Forecast
The 2019 Subjective Estimate was released last Friday at 2.50 billion pounds with a forecasted yield of 2,140 pounds per acre over the forecasted bearing acreage number of 1.17 million acres.
OBJECTIVE **COMING JULY 3rd 12:00 PM Pacific Standard Time**
Little to no surprise with today’s release of the Subjective Estimate. The range many had anticipated the last several weeks was between 2.50 and 2.60 billion pounds. The 2.50 is on the lower end of the spectrum but still within expectations. With today’s estimate, yesterday’s position report, and the US/China trade talk challenges the market will take some time to absorb the reports.
To refer back to position report the market didn’t really see the needle move post the report as many were already waiting for the subjective estimate. Here is a quick glance at some of the highlights from yesterday’s April Position Report.
The industry shipped a record 177 mm lbs. beating last April by 0.3 percent. Domestic shipments tailed off for the second month in a row with 67 mm lbs. shipped versus 73 mm lbs. last year, which brings the YTD shipments to 554 mm lbs. compared to 546 mm lbs. a 1.6 percent increase. Exports did see a slight increase in April shipments from 109 mm lbs. compared to last year 103 mm lbs., but export shipments still lag beyond roughly 1.50 percent.
Running through some of the key markets it can be noted that China/HK/Vietnam have continued to see shipments peter out with YTD numbers roughly down 33 percent. This market is a big question mark moving into the 2019 campaign as recent trade talks have run into a few challenges to say the least. India has continued to solidify its position as the number one export market YTD shipments up 8 percent and month-to-month shipments more than doubling compared to last year. Diwali is early this year so many importers are preparing now to meet the early Diwali with 2018 crop shipments. Western Europe had a little better showing with going from down 7 percent to only being down 5 percent YTD. The Netherlands continues to be the headline as that market is currently sitting at 30 percent up from last year. The Middle East as a whole saw a slight decrease in month-to-month shipments but still shows a positive 1 percent YTD.
Since the beginning of January sales have outpaced last year by 117 mm lbs. bringing the 2019 calendar sales to 623 mm lbs. versus 506 mm lbs. last year from January through April. It is starting to become more apparent that the transition will be rockier this year compared to what we experienced last year. The industry is pacing itself to carry-out even less than what we did last year (359mm lbs.). This is evident in the number of new sales as we mentioned previously along with the total uncommitted inventory down 14.64 percent (380mm lbs. vs. 445 mm lbs.).
The industry is sitting at 86% shipped and committed with roughly 5 more months of shipments before any Cals or Carmels are available to ship. The remaining inventory is mostly Nonpareil with limited but some availability on large size pollinators and independence. This is evident in what the market was indicating leading up to today’s position report. Unpasteurized prices ranged between $2.90-$2.95 on Carmel Type Supreme, Nonpareil $2.92-$3.10, Cal SSR $2.80-$2.88, BV Std 5% $2.73-$2.76, and NPIS $2.30-$2.35. Even though demand slowed down for new crop the past couple of weeks prices levels remained static; BV Std 5% $2.43-$2.48, Cals $2.55-$2.65, Carmel Type Supreme $2.70-$2.75, Nonpareil $2.80-$2.90, and NPIS $2.08-$2.13.
As we sit in the beginning days of May it looks as if the industry is poised to ride the two-tier market well into the summer months. The spread between current crop pollinators and new crop pollinators is a strong 20-25 cents per pound while Nonpareil holds a premium for current crop over new crop of roughly 15 cents per pound. In general, there seems to be very little chance if any that current crop prices weaken, and we could expect prices to be stable to firm through the end of the 2018 campaign.