We already have the publication of the last report about the American shipments of the last month of FEBRUARY 2023.
The figure of shipments is 245.74 Mlbs (+23.4%), being the figure of February last year 199.16 Mlbs. This means that we have a record figure. That is to say that this figure is the highest of all February months so far, surpassing the February harvest 20/21 which was 234.21 Mlbs.
Sales for the month were 190.27 Mlbs, compared to 215.03 Mlbs last year, which means -11.52% of sales in the month of February..
The export shipments have been 188.28 Mlbs (+29.2%), a record figure. Domestic shipments amounted to 57.46 million pounds (+7.6%).
Regarding the harvest, we have an entry of 2,522.92 Mlbs (-12.76%). However, in the total harvest, adding the carryin (836.81 Mlbs (+37.60%)), we have 3,309.27 Mlbs (-3.87%). If this figure remains constant, we will end up with a total harvest of around 2.55 Blbs, slightly less than the estimate of 2.60 Blbs that is being considered.
In terms of what is sold and not shipped, we have a total of 784.69 Mlbs (-8.47%). The shelled, compared to domestic, would be 330.38 Mlbs (-5.24%) and the exported 454.31 Mlbs (-10.69%).
With this situation, a total of 1,007.23 Mlbs (-12.17%) would remain unsold (inventory).
With this data we can see that 2,302.03 Mlbs have been sold in general, +0.28% compared to last year when 2,295.51 Mlbs had been made, that is to say that we are in a sales position practically the same as last year with -3.87% of the total available harvest. This means that 69.56% of the total crop has been sold, assuming that this remains at 2.55 Blbs plus the carryin already indicated. Last year, 66.12% was sold. This means that, with equal shipments in the coming months until the end, there would be a carryin of 600/650 Mlb, lower than what we have had this year by around -25%. At this point we recall that, from March onwards, last year, shipments started to be spectacular month by month due to the delay in the previous months due to logistical problems. This means that surpassing or even equalling last year's shipments in the coming months is quite a lofty goal.
Regarding the destination of the shipments, countries such as Canada, China (very strong increase), South Korea, India (very strong increase), France (strong increase), 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, there are important countries such as Japan, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands (strong fall), the United Kingdom (very strong fall). In Spain, the situation has been negative, with 17.56 Mlbs this month against 20.98 Mlbs the previous year (-16.30%). In total, 115.45 Mlbs of crop has been exported this year and last year 98.89 Mlbs (+16.74%). In Europe in general 54.95 Mlbs this month against 66.71 Mlbs last year (-17.63%). The total crop has been exported to Europe +4.75% more than last year's crop.
With these data we have some positive or very positive sides such as the very good shipments for another month, and we are already coming from a spectacular January. Also that it has been sold very similar to last year with less available crop, which leaves the situation in a very good position, it seems that little by little the carryin and the previous crop is disappearing, although there is still some available out there... The market sentiment has taken a sharp turn from how 2023 started. However, these shipments also leave negative sides. On the one hand, we have a rather quiet sales month and judging by the sentiment and the shipping destinations, Europe has been rather more absent than usual. That is to say, when prices are rising, sales are being eroded. Let's remember that in January, 350.11 Mlbs were sold, and this February they went down to 190.27 Mlbs. The difference between one and the other is that prices are rising and that celebrations such as Ramadan and Easter are getting closer and closer. In fact, we have seen from the destinations that Muslim countries, India and Asian countries have been leading the way, with the European market being the one that has fallen off quite a lot. Let's remember that in the coming months it is the European market that traditionally pulls the cart once Ramadan and Easter leaves its path. We can also observe that unshipped sales, commitments, are lower than last year by a much larger percentage than the crop failure. This, coupled with the low sales, leaves many doubts about being able to match and exceed the next shipments to come compared to last year which were very good.
In summary, we can observe bullish factors, in fact, these factors are the most visible, but there is also some rather bearish data. The former weigh more heavily on the market today than the latter, but we should not lose sight of them.
Apart from the data provided by these shipments, there is another very important issue that we have been dealing with over the last few days: the problems that exist during flowering. We have been able to observe numerous videos, reports, opinions and comments coming directly from California where it is assured that the flowering conditions are very defective for several reasons. Firstly, severe frosts and snowfalls, especially in the northern part of the valley. Secondly, overcast skies and rain over the last two weeks have severely hampered the work of the bees, which leads us to believe that pollination is very poor. Thirdly, the fields already have an excess of water, more than they can consume, which makes it very difficult to enter them due to the impracticable conditions they are in, making it very difficult to work on their maintenance and improvement. In fact, some forecasts for the next harvest have already been circulated which are much lower than expected. In short, the news coming from California is that, a priori, the flowering conditions are terrible and a very significant crop loss is expected. We will see how all this turns out.
With all this framework that we have mentioned, very good January shipments, news of defective flowering and that these shipments were expected to be good judging by the good sales last month, the market is in a bullish situation. It has quickly left behind the 1.50/1.60 $/lb levels that we have had for so long to go through levels of 1.65 $/lb to reach 1.70 $/lb just before the present shipments. Still talking about Std 5%. As the flowering news has been bad, prices have been rising. After these shipments, we expect this trend to continue and see higher prices immediately, we will see at what levels, which is estimated to be a rise of 0.05/0.10 $/lb, which would result in talking about 1.75/1.80 $/lb for current crop and the new one would go from levels of 1.80 $/lb to 1.85/1.90 $/lb, but we will be able to check this in the coming days.
For its part, the demand, focusing on the European demand, has been a bit on the sidelines of any situation and comments and has not jumped in as we have seen many times before in the face of the increasingly bullish position. It has opted for prudence and to go rather day by day without making big movements. It is clear from these shipments that Europe has slackened a lot. Demand prefers to wait to check that everything that arrives from the new crop and flowering is accurate. It is true that buying interest has also been rising in terms of price, but it has not reached the level that supply was asking for. As a result, there has been little activity.
The buyer is very convinced that consumption has been affected and the final consumer is quite absent. Therefore, these good data are not 100% real, because most of the almonds do not reach their final destination.
As can be seen, we are in a dispute, let's say buyer and seller, each with their own arguments and we will see who is the winner.
What seems clear is that this March will continue to be a month of pure speculation and market fluctuations, with no certainty as to what will happen in terms of flowering. It will probably be a month where the bearish possibility is the least likely. It will not be until April, with the first estimates, that we will have more clarity and certainty.
The following table shows how the market has evolved over the last two months:
As for Spanish almonds, the month of February and so far in March has been very similar to the situation in the American almond sector, and it is on a bullish path. The difference is that the fundamental destination is Europe, which is exactly where we have commented that it has been more on the sidelines. Result, once again, low or very low activity. The activity that has taken place has been of specific operations and sometimes differentiated in terms of price, depending on the specific situation of the operation, which has meant that there has almost been no clear market.
The seller, in view of the situation in California, has opted to follow the American almond and move up to the same levels as the American almond. In other words, we have gone from 3.80 €/kg to 4 €/kg, with similar levels to the American almond at the exchange rate. Always talking about the owner community. In other words, there has been a price increase of +0.20 €/kg, but there has not been a significant increase in activity. The American almond has a very wide market and if Europe fails, it has many other possibilities, but this is not the case for Spanish almonds, which have a very specific market. This increase in price has been seen in all the usual varieties and sizes. If we move on to more special and higher priced varieties, the market continues to be just as scarce and not at all bullish (belonas, constantí, marcona, largueta...).
Now it can be said that Spanish almonds are at the same level as American almonds. But the buyer, as we have said before, is being cautious and keeping up to date, and has bought very little. What the offer has been requested, the buyer has not accepted and vice versa. And this is not new, it has been going on for a long time.
After these shipments, in view of the more than possible rise in the prices of American almonds, we will see where Spanish almonds are positioned, but they should not be too far removed from American almonds if they want to be present in the buyers' plans.
What is rather worrying is, for one reason or another, the lack of activity that has been going on for, say, the whole harvest. Is it perhaps because consumption has been affected? Is it because American almonds have covered many of the gaps in Spanish almonds? Is it because the buyer is very up-to-date and there is still a lack of activity to be done? We shall see, but this is something that we should not let pass us by.
We hope this helps.
Thank you very much.