Senior Vice President
The October ABC Position Report was released earlier today. October 2020 crop receipts were 758 million lbs, bringing YTD receipts to 1.810 billion lbs. The 2020 crop remains on pace to reach 3 billion lbs. The large crop is placing early pressure on the California almond supply chain, taxing huller shellers, stockpile storage, and bin availability.
In a recurring theme, shipments were expected to be very strong and did not disappoint. The 309 million lbs is the largest California almond shipment month in history, exceeding last October by nearly 17%. YTD shipments are 25% ahead of prior year, up by 154 million lbs in the first three months. Counting last July, the industry is on a record string of shipments for four consecutive months.
India remains the overall growth leader with 146.1 million pounds, up 110% over last year. China/Vietnam volume stands at 73.7 million pounds, up 14.7 million lbs and nearly 25%. The U.S. is up 23.9 million lbs and more than 13%, with more than half of the increase found in manufactured products. Europe is also up over 20 million lbs YTD, also an increase of 13%. Inshell shipments are 195.7 million pounds YTD, up 59% over inshell shipments during the same time last year. Strong commitments and early November activity indicate shipment growth will continue into November and beyond.
With large current commitments on the books, the industry is working hard to meet contract obligations into the winter. The industry is facing challenges as many economies worldwide struggle with the impact of Covid-19. The impact from the new shutdowns is unknown at present. Shipping container availability out of California is also an issue. Vessel schedules are changing at the last minute, capacity utilization is high, and transit times are in some cases extended. This keeps the pressure on execution.
New commitments in October increased by 250 million lbs, keeping total commitments above 1.0 billion lbs for the third month. Open commitments exceed last year by 340 million lbs and 49%.
The California almond industry has jumped out of the gates incredibly strong on both shipments and commitments. Given the large supply, the early growth has kept pricing relatively stable. The September price lift has faded back to late summer levels.
Demand for 2020 supply is likely to remain strong with current pricing. Given very strong projected shipments through November and December, the next milestones will be the pace of post-holiday buying in key global markets and the set up for the 2021 bloom.