The February Position Report was released Thursday, March 12th. Total shipments for the month were 201.78 million pounds setting a new record for the month of February. This is up 7.9% from last year’s shipment total of 186.95 million pounds. The previous record for February came in 2018 and totaled 190.13 million pounds. Export shipments were 137.42 million pounds which were up 6.9% over last year. Domestic shipments came in at 64.36 million pounds and increased 10.2% over February last season. Shipments continue to remain strong with this being the third month in a row that set new records for the industry.
The 2019 year-to-date crop receipts are now 2,530,683,585 pounds. This is an increase of 11.87% over year to date deliveries for this time last year. The last of the processors completed hulling and shelling mid-February. With everything wrapped up, the industry has more confidence that the crop will end up around 2.55 billion pounds. This then takes us to 73% sold, just slightly below the 74% from this time last year.
Following last month’s report, prices started falling and ended $0.20-$0.25 lower than pre-report levels. In recent weeks we have seen the price stabilize and buyers have started participating in a big way. New sales for the month of February totaled 191.51 million pounds, shattering the previous February record of 149.97 million pounds.
Buyers are now focused on the 2020 crop size and are currently operating under the presumption that it will be between 2.7 and 2.8 billion pounds. We had ideal bloom weather this season, but there is a long road ahead before the crop is in the barn. These numbers have been floating around for over a month now and this alone is not expected to have a negative impact on pricing. We do have some unknowns out there related to what the impact of the Coronavirus will be on the market, exchange rates and economies around the world. Only time will tell, but we want to assure you that Harris Woolf is taking every precaution to keep our employees safe and maintain our excellent food safety track record. Below are a few of the added precautions that we are taking to prevent the spread of any illness.
- We have begun visitor safety and health screenings prior to entry into our manufacturing facilities and limiting visitors to business-critical activities, all business travel has been restricted.
- We will refrain from handshakes or other direct contact with coworkers and/or visitors.
- Our Sanitation Team has increased sanitary efforts by adding all potential community contact surfaces such as door handles, cafeteria surfaces, shared telephones, etc. to our routine cleaning schedule.
- If employees or a close family member show signs of illness they have been instructed to please stay home and not come to work.