EastFruit analysts have prepared an overview of the almond market in the main producing countries.
Australia takes the lead from the US in the Chinese market
Australia increased exports of almonds by 37% in November and reached a volume of 9 300 tonnes (kernels and unshelled almonds). This is a record export in November since 2012. Moreover, the previous four months – from August to September 2022 – were also record-breaking for Australian exports. The rapid growth was driven by growth in exports to China by 90% to almost $100 million. China accounts for 83% of Australia’s almond exports. The importance of Australia in the Chinese market has also grown – the current share of Australian imports is about 60% ($190 million), while the United States is losing ground – imports to China over the period under review decreased by 20% or $37 million and amounted to $135 million. Thus, Australia became a leader in the Chinese market.
USA: logistical chaos
Over the past six months, almond exports from the United States have declined by 13%. The fall affected all key Asian markets. At the same time, supplies increased to the countries of the Middle East – the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Jordan, and Israel.
In the last 18 months of the system disruptions, those in the supply chain have experienced everything from canceled orders to mismatched ships and rescheduling, Stuart McCallister, president of Terra Nova Trading, said. It was all driven by the recovery of the US economy and unprecedented consumer demand. Not only have shipments for goods become longer, increasing the risk of aflatoxin spread, but spot freight rates from Asia to the US coast have risen by 400%. Additional cash flow problems have also arisen due to the delay of ships since many buyers pay for goods upon arrival.
Spain: production cuts due to bad weather
Meanwhile, Spanish almond exports fell by a quarter due to a 27% decline in Spanish production (USDA). The decline in production is primarily due to frost damage in early April 2022. Temperatures dropped to -5°C in some key growing areas in the north of the country in early April, although production in the southern regions was unaffected. In addition to frost, drought, and fungal diseases further hampered production, the USDA reports. Supply cuts did not push prices up as producers expected, thanks to imports of California almonds. With each season, Spanish producers find it increasingly difficult to compete with high-quality imports from the United States, which grew by 12% in July-November 2022 (latest available data) and reached $196.3 million.
Georgia became a net exporter of almonds
Georgia exported 66 tonnes of almonds worth $86 900 over the past six months. Uzbekistan became its main trading partner, with exports there amounting to 99% of Georgian unshelled almonds. At the same time, Georgia imported 22 tonnes of almonds from Turkey worth $43 000. So far, Georgia trades only in shelled almonds.
Today there is about 6 000 ha of intensive almond orchards in Georgia. The largest producer of almonds in Georgia is the Udabno company, which owns 2 300 ha of almond plantations. So far, only a small part of Georgian orchards has reached full productivity – about 500 ha.
Read also: Georgia buys record-high volumes of walnuts despite the recent improvements in production
Uzbekistan became a net importer of almonds
Due to spring frosts, almond production in Uzbekistan has suffered significantly over the past two seasons. According to preliminary official statistics, the export volume of in-shell almonds from July to December 20, 2022, amounted to only 97.5 tonnes, which is 4.7 times less than last year. As a result, at the end of the harvest season in late September – early October, the average wholesale prices for in-shell almonds were 1.5 times higher than last year. Consequently, exports from June to November 2022 decreased by 68% and amounted to only $856 000. Imports increased 11 times – Uzbekistan imported almonds (kernel and unshelled) worth $1.8 million from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the USA, and Georgia.
Azerbaijan started exporting almonds
Data on international trade of Azerbaijan until September 2022 is only available, but it shows the start of exports. From July to September, Azerbaijan exported almonds worth $264 000 to the Russian Federation (54%), Uzbekistan (30.3%), and Belarus (15.8%). Kernels were exported to the Russian Federation and Belarus, while unshelled almonds were exported to Uzbekistan.
Over the period under review, imports grew by 45% to $500 000 due to increased imports of almond kernels from the US (+33%) and Turkey (+12%).
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