There are two strong and opposing forces at work on almond pricing: the new Californian crop looks set to be by far the largest ever, and may come in at over 900,000mt; and demand for almonds is certain to rise globally, for no other reason than prices at current levels remain extremely good value in comparison with other nut products.


A recent estimate on the new Californian crop has confounded previous hopes for a large US supply into 2012. The estimate is for 485,000 short tons vs 503,000 short tons this current crop, which will fill no-one with any confidence that an increase in global demand will be catered for. On the up side, China looks set to deliver a larger new crop.


Unexpectedly high prices look, in the short term, to have seriously damaged demand. US buying interest has dropped (year-on-year) since May. And a weaker euro against the dollar is pushing imported replacement prices yet higher into Europe.


Prolonged drought has continued across the southern US states and is seems likely that the 2011-12 crop will struggle to exceed the latest US new crop of 277m lb. Mexico is also suffering from drought and looks unlikely to exceed 100m lb.


With so few origin options and with such strong domestic demand there is every chance that supply will simply run out at some point before the start of the new season next May/June.

l Based on information provided by RM Curtis.