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March US almond shipments exceed industry expectations

The March position report, released on 10th April by the Almond Board of California, showed March almond shipments totaled 237 million pounds. While this was a 16% fall year-on-year, season to date (August-March) shipments were up 2% from last season.

The shipments also came in marginally above industry expectations, with most market participants surveyed ahead of the release of the report expecting a figure of 225-235 million pounds.

"Shipments are good, and we still look to be on track to reduce ending stocks to around 500 million pounds, which is a positive factor for next season," a US handler said.

The industry is currently expecting a final carryout figure of close to 500 million pounds, which would be a drawdown of 300 million pounds from the start of the season. This would require an average per month shipment of 212 million pounds for the remainder of the season (April-July).

"If we can get ending stocks down to 500 million pounds, we are back in what is typically viewed as a healthier level for the industry. With what looks to be a large crop on the horizon, if we see stocks much above this level it is going to cause further problems," a US seller said.

New sales were described by sellers as "lackluster". However, this was viewed by many market participants as a continuation of an existing shift in purchasing behaviors; with buyers preferring to adopt a more hand-to-mouth purchasing strategy in recent years, which contrasts with the historical norm of taking longer positions throughout the season.

"Commitments don't mean as much as they used to, so I'm not putting much stock in the figures. We are seeing fewer buyers look to buy large volumes on the forwards and preferring to purchase on shorter timeframes," a US exporter stated to Mintec.


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