April 12th ended up being a busy news day with the release of the March Position Report and the 2022 crop estimate from Terra Nova Trading. Following a year of underwhelming reports, March brought the industry some good news with strong shipments and record setting new sales for the month. On the other hand, the 2.9 billion pound estimate doesn't look like it will have a positive impact on the market. The 2.9 billion pounds doesn't quite align with what growers are seeing in their fields going into another drought year and following the recent frost.
Year to date crop receipts now total 2,901,503,618 pounds, which is 6.20% below the 3,093,369,468 pounds received to date last March. Deliveries will continue to trickle in for the next few months, at this point the crop size is pretty much known and focus has shifted to the 2022 crop size.
Total shipments for the month were 244.98 million pounds, this is a decrease of 8.1% when compared to last year's 266.65 million pounds. Export shipments were 173.14 million pounds, which is down 11.4% from last year. Domestic shipments were 71.84 million pounds, this is up 0.8% versus last March's 71.26 million pounds. The industry did see some good improvements this month related to the ports and being able to book export shipments. It is still too early to declare if this is "the light at the end of the tunnel," but it is a sign of things moving in the right direction. If we can continue to maintain this momentum, we will see carryout estimates move away from 1 billion pounds and back toward 800-900 million pounds.
New sales for the month were 219.8 million pounds compared to 191.3 million pounds sold at this time last year, 219.8 million is now the new sales record for the month of March. Based on a crop estimate of 2.914 billion pounds, the year to date sold position is 72.6%; this time last year the industry was 80% sold.
Over the last month almond prices have come up roughly $0.10 per pound due to growing concerns of a smaller crop following the frost. The positive news from this report should have given the market another price bump. However, the release of the 2.9 billion pound estimate might have suppressed that. Almond handlers are currently offering sales above pre-report levels, while buyers are countering with lower offers due to the estimated 2.9 billion pound and an estimated carryout of 900 million pounds (3.8 billion total supply). With that, we find ourselves in another buyer/seller standoff and will have to wait and see how things shake out over the next week or so.