The Mintec Benchmark Prices (MBP) for standard 5% almonds FAS US fell 5% in the week ending 12th February, to USD 1.82/lb. The benchmark is down 9% month-on-month (m-o-m) and 33% below the same time last year. In August 2020, prices fell to a decade low of USD 1.75/lb, pressured by oversupply in California, the global leader in almonds. Since then, the market has been fluctuating between USD 1.76/lb and USD 2.0/lb.
The latest Almond Board of California (ABC) shipment report, published on 11th February, has added fuel to the bearish market sentiment. Based on the ABC data, Californian almond shipments totalled 194.3 million lbs in January, a decline of 12% year-on-year (y-o-y). This is the first y-o-y decline in monthly shipments in seven months.
Domestic shipments contracted 17% y-o-y in January, while exports fell 9% y-o-y, to 194.3 million lbs. The fall in exports is attributed to shipping disruptions at US ports, as well as the weakening global demand for almonds.
Exports to India fell for the first time since the beginning of the season, totalling 23 million Ibs in January, down 21% y-o-y. Nuts are often gifted in India during wedding celebrations and festivals, and COVID-19 has hampered social gathering for these events, impacting consumption.
One Indian-based trader stated ‘India is currently oversupplied due to the large commitments made earlier in the season. At the same time, we have seen consumption dip as demand from events and festivals has reduced significantly due to Covid.’
Demand from European buyers has also fallen, due in part to the re-escalation of COVID-19 cases across EU member states and sufficient inventory levels in Europe.
A European-based broker said ‘We’ve seen prices ease again over the past few days. I haven’t seen any firm trades yet, but indications are putting the market between 5-10 cents/lb from where it was before the shipment report.’
In addition to the dip in shipments, crop receipts crossed the 3 billion Ibs mark in January, at 3.03 billion Ibs, 21% ahead of the last season and currently, 25 million Ibs above the Objective measurement report from July last year.