Opinion

US Nut Harvest and Exports Update

Published Nov 24, 2022
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Almond sales have been weak so far this marketing year, and only 39% of the marketable supply was sold and committed at the end of October. This is much lower than the 5-year average of 46%.

The walnut crop could be larger than most industry estimates judging by walnut deliveries. Walnut deliveries suggest a crop of around 760,000 short tons, compared to the USDA’s latest estimate of 725,000 short tons. On top of that export sales have been the weakest in at least 5 years.

The pistachio marketing year started with a large carry-in, and despite a 24% reduction in production, there is still ample supply available. Europe’s demand for pistachios has been disappointing, but larger shipments were recorded to India and the UAE.

Almonds: Crop Estimate and Supply

The USDA’s July objective measurement report estimated the 2022 almond crop at 2,600 million lbs. Cumulative deliveries, from August to October 2022, stand at 1,657 million lbs, which is 64% of the crop estimate of 2,600 million lbs. Cumulative deliveries from August to October over the last 5 years also add up to 64% of total deliveries, meaning the crop estimate is likely spot-on. 

The season started with carry-in stocks of 837 million lbs, which means the total marketable supply for 2022/23 is very close to 3,437 million lbs.

Almonds: Shipments and Commitments

Of the marketable supply, only 39% had been sold and committed at the end of October, compared to the 5-year average of 46%. This is even lower than at the end of October 2021 (40%), when exports were hampered by clogged California harbors. This will be worrying for the almond industry in the US, as it means supply is far outstripping demand. This is despite the low prices almonds have been offered at in the domestic and international markets.

At the end of October, 631 million lbs had been shipped (domestically and internationally), and 695 million lbs have been committed for further shipments. This means only 18% of the marketable supply had been shipped, and a further 20.2% had been committed for domestic and export delivery.


Source: ABC, USDA, Tridge

Walnuts: Crop Estimate

Walnut deliveries suggest a larger crop than the latest USDA estimate. Most industry estimates peg the crop at around 725,000 short tons, similar to the USDA’s September Objective Measurement Report. However, by the end of October, walnut receipts already stood at 675,263 short tons. Historically 87% of the crop is normally delivered by the end of October, with the other 13% still being delivered until as late as January. Should this year follow a similar trend as the past 5 years, it suggests the crop could be as high as 760,000 short tons.

Walnuts: Shipments and Commitments

Domestic shipments in October were the highest on record, at 30,568 short tons. Domestic shipments are typically higher during the harvest, but this was much higher than in October 2021, when 25,315 short tons were shipped to the domestic market.

On the other hand, export shipments have been disappointing. Cumulative exports for the first two months of the year are only 49,774 short tons, by far the lowest in at least 5 years. This was even below last year’s 60,363 short tons when exports were stuck in California harbors. The US is facing stiff competition from large crops in China, Ukraine, Turkey, and Iran. However, a positive sign is the large number of walnuts already committed for sale. Walnut commitments stood at 31,066 short tons of in-shell and 81,806 short tons of shelled walnuts at the end of October. This is nearly 60% higher than in October 2021.


Source: California Walnut Board

Pistachios: Crop Estimate

Pistachio deliveries from September to the end of October were 887 million lbs. The harvest is virtually concluded, and the final crop should be very close to 888 million lbs. This is slightly higher than most industry estimates. The latest estimate by the International Nuts and Dried Fruit Council (INC) pegged the crop at 850 million lbs. Production is 24% lower than in 2021, but production was particularly high in 2021, and pistachios are alternate-bearing trees, meaning high production in one season is normally followed by lower production in the next.

The 2022/23 season started with abundant carry-in stock from the previous marketing year, of 354 million lbs. This gives a total marketable supply of 1,242 million lbs for 2022/23

Pistachios: Shipments

Of the total marketable supply, 12% had been shipped as of the end of October, which is equal to the 5-year average.

Cumulative domestic shipments in the first two months of the marketing year were 39.78 million lbs, slightly more than the 39.22 million lbs over the same period in 2021/22.

Cumulative export shipments were 111.23 million lbs at the end of October, slightly lower than last year’s 125.80 million lbs. Export shipments in October (66.34 million lbs) were comparatively high. This is due to larger than normal shipments to India and the UAE, however, demand from Europe remains weak.  

Source: ACP

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