On January 12th we had the publication of the last report about the American shipments for the last month of DECEMBER 2022 with the following main data:

The figure of shipments is 206.35 Mlbs (+9.3%), being last year's December figure of 188.81 Mlbs. This is the second highest December shipments in the last 10 years.

Sales for the month were 234.91 Mlbs, compared to 246.80 Mlbs last year, which means -4.82% of sales in the month of December.

Export shipments amounted to 153.88 Mlbs (+23.6.5%). Domestic shipments have been 52.47 Mlbs (-18.4%).

Regarding the harvest, we have an entry of 2,376.43 Mlbs (-10.56%). However, in the total harvest, adding the carryin (836.81 Mlbs (+37.60%)), we have 3,165.71 Mlbs (-1.44%). If this figure remains constant, we will end up with a total harvest of around 2.60 Blbs, similar to the estimate of 2.60 Blbs that is being considered.

Regarding the sold and not shipped we have a total of 719.71 Mlbs (-11.26%). The shelled, compared to domestic, would be 330.35 Mlbs (-1.77%) and the exported 389.36 Mlbs (-17.99%).

With this situation, a total of 1,404.06 Mlbs (+4.86%) would remain unsold (inventory).

With this data we can see that 1.761,65 Mlbs have been sold in general, a -5,94% compared to last year when 1.872,84 Mlbs had been made. With this data, it could be said that 67.76% of the crop has been sold, assuming that this is around 2.6 Blbs, and 51.26% of the crop plus the carryin already indicated.

Regarding the destination of the shipments, countries such as India (strong increase), France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands (very strong increase), United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia (strong increase), Turkey (very strong increase), United Arab Emirates (very strong increase) and Morocco (very strong increase) stand out positively. On the negative side are important countries such as Canada (down sharply), China (down sharply), Japan and South Korea. In Spain, the situation has been positive, with 18.76 Mlbs this month compared to 15.40 Mlbs the previous year (+21.82%). In total, 78.45 Mlbs of crop has been exported this year and last year 67.01 Mlbs (+17.07%). In Europe in general 59.92 Mlbs this month for 49.83 Mlbs last year (+20.25%). The total crop has been exported to Europe +2.58% more than last year's crop.

These data came as a surprise, as negative results were expected. In fact, both the first and the second week of the year until the release, the market sentiment was bearish. But not only because of the expected poor figures, but also because of the lack of activity in the market. Sales are not as expected and this creates a bit of nervousness. This can be seen in the data. Sales are -5.94% and the total harvest is -1.44%. This means that despite the fact that the harvest is lower than last year, even less has been sold. It can be seen from the inventory that there are more unsold almonds than last year despite the smaller crop.



To discuss market and price developments, let us put them in context. The following graphs show how the season has evolved and how the year 2022 has ended:



Analyzing, apart from the crop, how the year 2022 has evolved, January started with falling prices, going from 1.95 $/lb to 1.83 $/lb approximately, to reach levels of 1.75 $/lb in February. It rebounded a bit in March to reach 1.80 $/lb due to the good shipments that were taking place and the Ramadan, and between April and June it dropped to levels between 1.75/1.70 $/lb until in July it reached its floor of 1.55 $/lb. Then for the season in August and September it rallies back to $1.70/lb, triggered by very good August shipments and a view of a lower than expected crop, with a drought hovering in the air that was at its worst due to the lack of rainfall. However, from October until the end of the year, the price went into a downward spiral, quickly reaching levels of 1.55 $/lb in October (due to defective September shipments and very poor sales in the harvest) to close the year at levels of 1.50 $/lb. With this data, we can say that the average price for the year 2022 has been around 1.65 $/lb and that of the campaign around 1.60 $/lb. The following data sheet shows the evolution of the price of Std 5% Fas California since the 2019 season ($/lb): 


If you would like to see the above table in graphical form, you should consult our shipping report for November 2021 on our website (on our blog).

The first week of the year 2023 prices crossed the barrier of 1.50 $/lb (always talking about crop 2022), but the second week, expecting bad shipment figures, they took a path that seemed to go to 1.45 $/lb. In other words, in the early stages of the year, the downward trend that was already in place continued.

However, after the release and the results, the market took a slightly different direction. The feeling was no longer so bearish, the defeatist tinge was eliminated and an attempt was made to at least recover the cents lost in the expectation of bad figures, i.e. the market returned to the path of 1.50 $/lb where it is currently. Remember that we always talk about Std 5% price.

In the last few days, it seems that markets such as Asia, India or Muslim countries waiting for Ramadan, have awakened the buying appetite a little, being the European market the one that is still asleep. Therefore, the third week of the year has passed in a more stabilised way. On the right are the current approximate prices:


What seems clear is that the seller is looking for activity, for positive sales. He is trying to turn this situation around in order to reach the point where he can act in a more stable, not so bearish way and, why not, try to improve prices, which are already quite low. Buyers, on the other hand, seeing the weakness of the market, are acting in a more short-term and unhurried manner, buying what they need.

Another factor that seems to be very important is the rainfall throughout the valley. The very worrying issue that was the drought seems to have been, if not solved, improved a lot with the large amount of rainfall that we have had during the last few weeks in California. This is another bearish factor for the price, as it is one of the main factors for a good crop to come. There are many other factors, possible frost, bee flight in the right conditions... but this important and worrying factor seems to have improved a lot in the last few years.

As can be seen, we are faced with a perfect cocktail. On the one hand, there is an increase in the costs of the field and in the industrial part, which makes producing 1 kg of almonds more expensive. However, the price has been on a downward trend in recent months, reaching the lowest levels in recent years. And this is despite the fact that we are dealing with defective harvests, which are not very high. The potential of the crop, under the right conditions, is much higher. Perhaps the reason is that this rise in the cost of living has caused a halt in the intended increase in world consumption, together with external factors such as international conflicts, pandemics... In other words, the offer (the number of almonds, colloquially speaking) may be greater than the number of mouths that eat them (demand) or at least the increase in their number has been greater than the increase in mouths. Efforts are being made to increase demand by the same amount as supply, but judging by the market, it seems that this has not been achieved. And here comes the worry, even though we are in not very good harvests, what will happen when the expected potential comes? Maybe it has not yet been possible to establish a demand for all of it...



As far as Spanish almonds are concerned, the year ended in a very, very stable manner, just as the whole season has gone and probably for the whole of 2022. It is a year characterised by little price mobility, which is unusual in the market, the firmness above all of the supply despite the direction taken by the buyer and the American market, and there being a differential both up and down in the price of 0.20/0.25 €/kg throughout the year. In fact, the lowest point of the year 2022 was during the months of January (which was already with the price since November 2021) to March with prices around 4.10 €/kg to move in April until the end of the year to prices around 4.25/4.30 €/kg. The average price for the year would be around 4.20 €/kg approximately, being that of the campaign around 4.25 €/kg. Remember, we are always dealing with prices from Comuna propietario. The following table shows the evolution of the price of Comuna in Spain since the 2019 season (€/kg):



If you would like to see the above table in graphical form, you should consult our shipping report for November 2021 on our website (on our blog).

The season has been very sluggish in terms of activity and although prices have been maintained, it has not been due to a buyer/seller fluidity. Rather, it has been due to the endurance of supply and the refusal to follow the bearish path of the American almond. In fact, the big question would be: Has the harvest or the activity in the season been lower? If the answer is that the activity has been lower this year than the crop, despite the crop being bad, there have been more almonds left from January onwards than last year. If the answer is that the harvest has been good, it will have been worth the effort.

In this context, the year is off to a turbulent start. The continuing downward trend of the American almond, together with the low activity throughout the season, means that supply has decided to increase its intensity a little. This means, especially with such a high differential between American and Spanish almonds, an imminent drop in price. At the moment, an American almond at the exchange rate of 3.50 €/kg Std 5% and the Spanish Comuna prop at 4.25/4.30 €/kg. The differential is 0.75/0.80 €/kg, which is too much. This differential, taken in this period of time to its maximum, and being 0.50/0.60 €/kg during the campaign, makes the buyer very reluctant to the Spanish origin and only those who buy exclusively this product, which sadly is not a very high %, act. As a result, the year begins with a bearish market, with very little activity. The following graph shows in €/kg the comparison between American almonds delivered to Europe (with all the variation in freight and other costs) and Spanish almonds in Spain:


Between the first and second week of the year until the publication of shipments, the market lost around 0.20 €/kg, reaching levels of 4.10 €/kg. There are specific products that seem to be holding up a little better. This is the case of the Guara, a variety with not too much quantity this year and very much appreciated, as well as the fat size, the s/14 in all the common varieties and above all in Guara. The publication of positive shipments and the stability in the American market also provokes a reaction of a certain stability in the Spanish market, but the buyer, still with a very wide differential with respect to the American, is still on the sidelines. In other words, activity continues to be very low.

The third week of the year passes with a latent lack of activity. The supply is holding up, but the buyer is very distant, causing a new bearish result to reach levels of 4 €/kg where we are now. This last downward trend is also being suffered by more highly valued varieties such as the Guara and the large calibre. In fact, at present, there is talk of s/14 commune at levels of around 4.45/4.50 €/kg. The medium size 12/14, as we have seen since the beginning of the season, is quoted at a similar price to the owner.

More specific varieties such as Belona, Constantí, Marcona or Largueta are going their own way. Belona, Constantí or, let's say, more expensive varieties, are very stagnant and prices are clearly falling. In fact, the lack of activity in the market does not allow us to speak of an exact price. The Marcona and Largueta, varieties with very small quantities this year due to the lack of harvest, seem to be holding their prices because the few or very few operations that are being carried out are sufficient, operations that do not even reach the market. The issue of organic almonds can be considered similar to that of the Belona, the buyer is totally absent and no transactions are made, not even to find out what the specific situation is.

In Spain, unlike in California, the rains are conspicuous by their absence. The problem of the drought is still hanging over us and the cold weather has been delayed for a long time, which is bad for it to appear at the worst possible time, as it did last year. Now it seems that the cold weather has arrived, which is good news. All that remains now is for rainfall to appear as well.

We are now entering the speculative season. As we know, anything can happen and nothing can be ruled out. In the short term a bullish situation seems unlikely, but many things can happen. The flowering may not be adequate, frosts... things can happen that can totally change the market. What seems clear is that in Spain the almond wants to leave, causing a correction in the price that will go as far as the seller wants because the buyer expects a similarity with the American market. We shall see what happens.

We hope this helps.

Thank you very much.


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