The almond industry has now exceeded the forecast export sales with current figures of $670 million. October sales figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that sales were 72% higher than the same month last year, and the year to October export figure of $693 million is $290 million more than at the same time 12 months ago.
“Industry marketers continue to do an excellent job of selling the record crop of 80,500 tonnes at prices now averaging $11.63 per kg, the likes of which have not been seen before in Australia” said Ross Skinner, CEO of the Almond Board of Australia.
“In the past seven years the average export price, as published by the ABS, has fluctuated between five and eight dollars per kg to more than $11.00 per kilogram so far this year, after a record price in September 2015 of $13.38” he said.
“Strong demand for Australian almonds exists, and with the improving global price quoted in US dollars combined with the falling Australian dollar also working in our favour, the return on export tonnage has risen significantly throughout this year”.
Fifty countries now buy Australian almonds, with India continuing to be Australia’s single largest overseas market and has now received over 15,500 tonnes so far this calendar year, compared to a total of 11,600 tonnes for the full year in 2014. This represents a value of over $194 million. Spain and the United Arab Emirates are second and third respectively, with the value of exports to the UAE increasing by 80% in 2015.
The industry has bounced back well from the challenging period towards the end of the drought when the severe water allocation reductions and high prices for water impacted on the bottom line of producers. Now many producers are investing in establishing new orchards to meet the world’s growing appetite for almonds.
“Many hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested within the river communities in the next few years as orchards are planted and brought into production, with nurseries reporting they are busier now than during the previous period of rapid expansion during the mid 2000s”.
“Even with this large growth in the industry it will represent less than a 3% increase in global productive capacity once orchards mature, much less than the annual growth in demand of between 5 and 10 percent in the years before sales have been stifled by plateauing supply”.
“The recovery of the Californian industry in the years after their drought breaks will be the telling factor on future prices along with how large the pent up demand for almonds is once supply again starts to increase” Mr Skinner said.