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Treehouse Almond Market Update December 8, 2015 California shipped 140.5 million lbs of almonds in November, down 3.5% from shipments of 145.6 million lbs in November a year ago. Season to date shipments now stand at 572.2 million lbs, off by 82.4 million lbs or 12.6% versus a year ago. Domestic shipments were down for the second consecutive month, off 5.2% at 48.8 million. Despite strong inshell shipments to India and China, total export shipments were down 2.4% at 91.7 million lbs. Crop receipts continued strongly in November, with handlers adding another 307.3 million lbs to bring the total to 1756.3 million lbs. Last year November receipts totaled 211.1 million lbs and subsequently added another 138.7 million to final the season at 1867 million. While many hullers did finish last month there are always those that extend hulling into December and January. Clearly the crop is going to exceed the 1800 million lb Objective estimate. Commitments at 429.5 million lbs are down from last month (446.0 million) and lower than last year’s 455.6 million lbs. The change in commitments suggests lackluster new sales of 124.0 million lbs in November. Following disappointing October shipping numbers a month ago prices dropped another 15 to 20 cents per lb, with benchmark standards dipping to around $3.45 per lb. Lower levels were met by keen buyers. European industrial buyers in particular emerged to cover 2016 needs. Encouraged, emboldened sellers started pulling off the market or raising levels and within a week standards had recovered to around $3.65 per lb where they have stabilized for the past fortnight. Nonpareils were similarly impacted, although we do observe pricing in a wide range of levels ($4.00 to 4.55 per lb) reflecting an array of seller situations and size availability. Blanched sliced and slivered traded for the most part between $4.75 and $4.85 per lb. While any one aspect of report is not overwhelmingly bearish, taken together the case starts to gel. Shipments are lagging by 12.6% versus a year ago. Port strikes last year muddied comparisons in October, but the view is now clearing. The improving crop cannot be dismissed any longer. Meanwhile structural problems (read defaults and renegotiations) in Dubai and India still need time to unravel, taking the edge off new buying. Industrial buyers will likely be quiet in December as they head off for the holidays and watch storm patterns and chilling hours in California – which so far have been favorable compared to last year. That all said, we continue to believe in the strength of underlying demand for almonds and that pricing is already close to levels that can clear a crop similar to last year’s size. Nevertheless, today’s report is going to disappoint enough weaker sellers and will minimize the chance for higher prices until weather threatens 2016 production with the most likely chance for this coming up in February.


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