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Dec. 2023 Position Report

December 15, 2023

The December 2023 Position Report showed strong shipments while giving the industry a better understanding of what the final crop size may be. The sales and shipping momentum must continue at a strong pace to bring the carryout down.

The December Position Report was released on Thursday, January 11th. This was our 5th report of the 2023 crop year. California has done a great job of not taking the foot off the gas and continues to deliver strong results. While sales and shipments both looked good in December, everyone was focused on the receipts. Historically, over 90% of the crop has been delivered through the December shipping report. The crystal ball tends to get clearer this time of the year and we can get much closer when estimating the final crop size.

The year-to-date crop receipts now total 2.23 billion pounds, which is 6.24% below the 2.38 billion pounds received to date last season. The HWA team has continued to evaluate the delivery trends, based on our projections we feel the 2023 crop is going to land close to 2.4 billion pounds. Below is a graph showing the delivery trends over the last four years and an estimated trend line for 2023.

crop receipts.png


The marketable crop for 2023 will be even smaller than the 2.4 billion pounds estimated total receipts. This is due to the unprecedented quality issues that have plagued growers and processors this year. The industry’s average inedible percentage is usually around or below 2%, but the 2023 crop is at an average of 4.16% through December. While this is helping in a small way to reduce the carryout, it is also testing the limits of the industry’s sorting capabilities and leaving handlers with much more disposition product that they need to get rid of through oil stock and channels outside human consumption. The graph below highlights the average inedible by growing region over the last five years and the YTD inedible for 2023.

inedible percentage.png

Total shipments for the month were 229.4 million pounds. This is an increase of 11.2% when compared to last year’s 206.4 million pounds. The record for December still stands at 256.9 million pounds set back in 2020. Export shipments came to 172.7 million pounds, which is up 12.2% from last year. Domestic shipments landed at 6.7 million pounds. This is up 8.0% versus last season’s 52.5 million pounds. California is still on track to ship between 2.6-2.7 billion pounds of product this year. This would bring the industry’s carryout down to 400-500 million pounds. This would put us in a much better position than the 800 million pounds in 2021 & 2022.

New sales for the month were 219.4 million pounds compared to 234.9 million pounds sold at this time last year. The year-to-date sold position sits at 56.5% based on a crop size of 2.4 billion pounds. This is slightly ahead of last year’s 52.4% sold position.

Overall, it was another great report and prices are expected to strengthen over the next few weeks. Buyers and sellers finally seem to agree on the smaller crop size and that the carryout is on track to be back down to a manageable level at the end of the 2023/2024 season. Although the industry rarely focuses on the present, it has once again shifted its attention towards the future and what the 2024 bloom might bring. The buyers are expecting a large crop after two years of low yields in California. As growers and processors, we can’t control how big or small the 2024 crop will be, but we can control our participation and sales of the 2023 crop. We need to continue moving almonds to get the carryout as low as possible. The sales and shipments that happen today help to maintain pricing momentum for the future.