The value of U.S. almond exports (shelled, prepared or preserved, and in-shell) reached a record $925 million in marketing year 1996/97 (July -June), up 6 percent from the previous year. Relatively small world supplies, due to sharply reduced carry-in stocks and robust demand, continued to keep prices strong. Overseas manufacturers of bakery goods, breakfast cereal, candy, and ice cream purchased U.S. shelled almonds even at higher prices, because they could not easily substitute other tree nuts in their recipes. Almonds are the largest single U.S. horticultural export. Virtually all from California, two thirds of California's production goes to export. Market Access Program funds have helped the California almond industry expand almond exports over the last 10 years. The European Union is the largest U.S. market, accounting for 63 percent of the total value of U.S. almond exports. Japan and Canada are the second and third largest markets, accounting for 12 percent and 4 percent, respectively.