January seems to be flying by as always. While we had an amazing December filled with rain in the valley and snow in the Sierra’s, January has been dry thus far, with no rain or snow forecasted for the next ten days. Let’s hope we did not get our entire winter allotment all at once in December. Luckily there are plenty of winter days ahead for us. It has remained very cold which is great for the orchards, giving the trees the chilling hours needed for a good bloom in February.
Tuesday the Almond Board of California released the December shipping report. It is fair to say it was a disappointment (perhaps an understatement). Shipments for December were just under 189 million pounds, -26.5% below last year’s record 256.90 million pounds. This now puts the industry -17.3% behind last year in shipments year-to-date with 1,061.79 billion pounds shipped.
It should be noted that crop receipts for the month were 344 million pounds down 24% from last December’s receipts. Total receipts YTD are 2.656 billion pounds which reflects a -7.4% deficit to last year same time 2.868 billion pounds. The drag on receipts may be due to a lack of available bins due to a larger carry-over. The industry is still estimating total crop receipts to reach between 2.8 and 2.9 billion pounds when all is said and done.
Not enough can be said about the logistics issues facing our industry. When you believe things can’t get worse sometimes they in fact do. While almond handlers and processors were expecting the shipments to be down from the 257 million pounds shipped last December, the general consensus was expecting at minimum 210 million pounds. The 189 million pounds that did ship requires going back to August of 2019 to find a lower shipping month and is a reminder of the struggles we will continue to face until the tide turns with logistical issues we face today.
As a result, we can see that all export markets are down for the month of December:
Next Shipment Report: February 11, 2022
Week 3 Update
On a positive note, December new sales were 247 million pounds added to new commitments. This is an increase in sales over last December of +43% when 172 million pounds were sold. Demand is out there, if we can get it shipped.
The market levels have heated up this week adding greater interest from buyers looking for the right time to buy.
With a crop estimate between 2.8 and 2.9 billion lbs., CA will have less almonds to market than the 3.0 billion previously estimated by the industry.
There is no quick fix for logistics, this may continue through the end of the year. Domestic transportation and available equipment is hampered by an aging work force of drivers and little in the pipeline to replace them.
With Omicron sweeping across the globe we hear of closer after closer, slowing all economic functions down once again. Still no end in sight.
Despite the potentially smaller crop, given current logistic challenges, it is certain that the industry will have to deal with a significantly larger carry over than last season.
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