Almond Market Update - September 1, 2023
Temperatures remained in the high 90s this week, typical for this time of year, and the tropical storm from two weeks ago is now a distant memory. Having said that, some growers are not forgetting, nor will they let anyone else forget. Opinions aside, the overall effect of Tropical Storm "Hilary" will hardly make the history books, other than to note that California had not experienced a tropical depression in 88 years. The almond industry will hardly experience any significant losses overall as a result of the storm, other than extending harvest by an additional week, compounding an already late crop.
Besides the unforeseen rain we experienced, of more concern today are the reports from the initial harvests of highly serious insect damage and a lower yield turnout thus far from those who have harvested. This has caused many growers to withdraw from the market. Historically, this should be of no surprise, as each year those with experience will recall having heard this before! Evidently, it is different this time; well, we will have to patiently wait and see. What it is causing for now is a hold-up in the progression of selling the new crop forward, especially for high-quality specifications such as NPX#1. But, it is also affecting all sales across the board, whether Nonpareil or Cal SSR. Hopefully, this mentality will change soon as we get deeper into harvest and see better results.
As we finish the month of August, the first month of the new crop year for almonds, expectations are for shipments to be north of 210 million pounds. For July, the industry ended strongly, with 187 million pounds shipped. Expectations are for this trend to continue. While the carry-out is less than last year's unprecedented 837 million pounds, 791.9 million pounds is still a significant amount of almonds to carry out this year, about 300 million more than where the industry would prefer to be. So, can the industry really afford to hesitate once again, as was the case in February and March, which contributed to this carry-out in the first place?
Upcoming Industry Milestones:
- Growing Period: Harvest commenced once again this week following the rain from two weeks ago, as we see growers up and down the state now hard at work shaking trees.
- Position Report: September 12, 2023
Almond Market Insights - Week 35 Update:
With many growers off the market, unwilling to offer high-quality grades as they wait for further assessment of their crops, prices have firmed following the early harvest news.
With the late harvest delay, growers are content to wait and do not feel any pressure, especially with historically low market levels! Perhaps they will be able to enjoy higher prices once the uncertainty has been resolved.
For those able to book their needs now, this could perhaps be the bottom they have been waiting for. No doubt there is more risk in waiting than reward.
With growers unwilling to offer in the midst of another large carry-out, they could miss windows of opportunity that may not be made up later. Buyers have now been taking a reverse strategy as well, only booking hand to mouth and willing to book short-term needs. If shipments get too far behind versus supply, prices will follow.
Essentially, buyers appear to be ambivalent to crop news and are unwavering in their stance and approach to the market as a result of consumption and market pressures overall.
As a result, even with the extreme values buyers can currently enjoy, pricing is not the trigger; the industry will need to focus on consumption with the end-users and consumers.