Sep 3, 2023Report: Almond crop quality spurs seller withdrawals
Sellers withdrew offers for new crop supplies from the market this week over concerns for the quality of the 2023 crop, according to an Aug. 31 report from Mintec Ltd.
“Early indications as the first loads are being processed have revealed high levels of serious defects, with some handlers reporting levels of up to 30% from initial loads off the fields,” Aidan Wright, a Mintec senior commodity analyst covering the nut and IQF fruit markets, said in the report.
“Most of the liquidity this week is for old crop or old crop masquerading as new crop. Most of the handlers we deal with aren’t willing to offer significant volumes of 2023 crop due to quality concerns and they want to get a better read on the crop before resuming selling activity,” a U.S. trader told Mintec, according to a news release.
The worst impacted almonds appear to be from trees bordering abandoned orchards, with the lack of pesticide application in the abandoned areas leading to high pest pressure on productive orchards nearby.
“It isn’t just the abandoned orchards which are contributing to this problem. Poor weather conditions earlier in the season made spraying at the optimum times very difficult. At the same time, a lot of growers simply haven’t been able to afford to apply the volume of chemicals they normally would to the crop,” a U.S. handler said in the report.
The full extent of the problem has yet to be quantified, and there is wide variation between sellers, with many reporting 10%-20% serious defects and others reporting minimal issues.
“I’ve spoken to several handlers who have barely had any issues, so it is hard to pin exactly how widespread this issue is going to be,” a broker said in the report.
The withdrawal of new crop offers has led to a strengthening in positive sentiment from sellers, with one exporter describing the change as a “welcome shift” before stating, “we’ve been unable to meet a middle ground with sellers for quite some time as they have had a ‘take it or leave it’ mentality and have been willing to walk away over a penny. This has changed, and this week, I’ve been able to negotiate prices upwards for the first time in months.”
To stay up to date on developments in the almond markets, subscribe to the Mintec Weekly Almond Report by emailing Nuts@Mintecglobal.com. The report, which is released each Thursday, provides in-depth information on pricing and market dynamics.
For more than 40 years, Mintec has been the leading provider of raw material market prices and analysis covering more than 17,000 food ingredients and non-food raw materials.