Situation and Outlook
|Decreased output in the United States, the worlds largest producer, as well as several smaller producers will lower world almond supplies 10 percent from last year. As a result, U.S. almond grower prices are expected to stabilize after declining 65 percent between 1995/96 and 1999/2000. In 1999/2000, low almond prices encouraged consumption and boosted U.S. exports to record levels. Expected strong overseas demand should contribute to continued high levels of exports in 2000/01, despite the smaller U.S. crop.|
U.S. almond production in 2000/01
is forecast at 290,299 metric tons, 23 percent below last season,
but still a large crop for the down cycle of an alternate-bearing
crop. This years output is based on 202,344 bearing
hectares, a 4-percent increase from 1999/2000. Total U.S. almond
supplies in 2000/01 are forecast at 369,617 tons, down only 12
percent from the previous season, due to a smaller crop offset by
large beginning stocks. Almond grower prices continued their
5-year decline by falling sharply to $.87/lb. in 1999/2000, a
38-percent decrease from 1998/99. Grower prices are expected to
stabilize during 2000/01, due to lower U.S. output and supplies.
Approximately 75 percent of the worlds almonds are produced
by the United States.
In 2000/01, U.S. almond exports are forecast at 226,800 tons, which, while 1 percent below 1999/2000 exports, represents a significantly greater percentage of total production. Continued low almond prices are expected to spur exports for 2000/01. In 1999/2000, falling almond prices fueled export demand to a record 228,169 tons, 11 percent above the 1997/98 season, the previous record year for exports. Shelled almonds, including prepared and preserved, accounted for 91 percent of total U.S. almond exports. Major buyers of U.S. shelled almonds were the European Union (primarily Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands), accounting for 64 percent, and Asia (primarily, Japan and China) purchasing 14 percent. Asia is the most significant importer of in-shell almonds, purchasing nearly 76 percent of U.S. in-shell exports in 1999/2000.
With support from the Market
Access Program, the U.S. almond industry continues to dominate
the export market. China was a success story this year, with
sales up over 200 percent from last year. China is now the fifth
largest market for U.S. almonds, following Germany, Spain, Japan,
and India. Blue Diamond is continuing to successfully export
their new almond milk product. Expanding consumption is critical
in selling the large U.S. crop, so marketing campaigns are
focused on the message that almonds are a healthy way to snack.
Spains 2000/01 almond production is forecast at 55,000 tons, a 17-percent decrease compared to the previous season, due to adverse weather conditions. As of 1997, the latest year data was available, there were 629,000 bearing hectares, of which less than 10 percent were irrigated. Consequently, rainfall during the fall of 2000 will be crucial to future almond productivity. Exports in 2000/01 are forecast at 40,000 tons, 6 percent lower than last year, due to the smaller crop. Other EU countries (Germany, France, and Italy) are the major destinations, representing about 94 percent of Spains export markets. Almond imports in 2000/01 are forecast to increase, due to the reduced domestic crop. The United States continues to be the dominant foreign supplier of almonds to Spain, increasing its market share to 95 percent of total imports for 1999/2000. Due to their uniformity and low breakage, U.S. almonds are generally preferred by almond processors to produce food ingredients. Once processed, about 50 percent of U.S. almonds are exported to other EU countries.
While there is no price support
program for tree nuts, the EU does have an improvement plan that
is implemented in both Spains almond and hazelnut sectors.
Up to 475 ECU/hectare can be provided to growers to plant
improved, higher-yielding varieties. While this program was
expected to end this year, Spanish nut growers effectively voiced
their opposition to its demise and secured a one-year extension.
Given competition from U.S. product, Spanish almond growers
consider this program vital to their future competitiveness and
are expected to oppose the most recent EU proposal for reform of
the fruit and vegetable regime, which calls for a significant cut
Almond production for 2000/01 is
forecast at 10,000 tons, 41 percent lower than the previous year,
due to unfavorable weather conditions and the crops
cyclical nature. Output in the medium- to long-term is projected
to decline, due to reported uprooting of the oldest, least
productive trees and no significant planting of new orchards.
Domestic almond prices have declined throughout 1999/2000,
averaging 20 percent less than last year. However, relatively
cheap almond prices are still favoring domestic consumption, and
in some cases are causing substitution for other, more expensive
nuts. Over the past four years, imports have grown in response to
both decreasing domestic production and expanding consumption,
fluctuating only in response to the domestic crop volume. Price
competitiveness between the United States and Spain, Italys
two main almond sources, will remain key in determining which
gains a larger share of the Italian market.
Total almond production in
2000/01 is forecast at 15,200 tons, an 11-percent decrease from
last season, due to unfavorable weather conditions and some loss
of orchards from forest fires. Annual production is projected to
remain constant at 15,000 for the next 3-5 years, given good
weather conditions. Despite grower complaints that high input
costs and cheap imports make domestic production unprofitable,
traders considered 1999/2000 grower prices satisfactory. Greece
has the highest per capita consumption of nuts in the world and
produces mainly to meet domestic demand and the growing tourism
industry. Almond consumption represents about 24 percent of total
domestic nut consumption. Almond exports consist only of excess
nuts, which go primarily to other EU countries.
In 2000/01, almond production in Turkey is forecast at 14,500 tons, up 4 percent from the previous year. Consumption has been growing slowly, due to the abundant availability of the preferred hazelnuts. Almonds are generally consumed whole as a snack food, with limited amounts utilized in confectionary products. Trade is mainly restricted to border exchanges with neighboring countries.
The FAS Attaché Report search engine contains detailed reports on Tree Nut Competition or Market Intelligence for 16 countries, including Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. (For information on production and trade, contact Lisa Anderson at 202-720-5028. For information on marketing contact Ingrid Mohn at 202-720-5330. Also, visit the tree nuts web page at: /htp/horticulture/nuts.html)