Market participants surveyed by Mintec in the last week of January, expected US almond shipments at or near record levels for the month, ahead of the release of the January position report on 9th February. Estimates for January shipments were reported in the range of 200-245 million pounds, with most respondents returning figures of 220-240 million pounds.
If realized a figure of 230 million pounds or higher would set a new record for the month. The previous record seen in January 2023 stands at 229.66 million pounds.
“Everyone is expecting a strong shipment month despite the issues with the Panama Canal and in the Red Sea. The industry has managed to pivot to other ports where needed to avoid chokepoints. When I’m shipping to Europe, I’ve been avoiding the Panama Canal by moving containers via rail and shipping out of East Coast ports rather than Oakland,” a US exporter said to Mintec.
Panama has been suffering from drought which has reduced water availability for usage in the canal. This has led to the Panama Canal Authority cutting the number of slots to 24 ships per day, a significant drop from an average of 40 per day in January in previous years (2022-2023).
Shipment to Red Sea Ports have also become increasingly difficult to secure due to the recent attacks by Houthi militants in the Red Sea area.
Following the rally in prices seen since the release of the December position report on 11th January 2024, market participants have reported brisk sales. As a result, most expect a good volume of new sales to be recorded in the January position report release.
“I’ve become more bullish on new sales as the month has progressed. We are starting to see some buyer fatigue due to how fast prices are moving up, but at this stage we are still able to get business across the line and we’ve had a lot of sales get on the books,” a US seller stated.
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