California shippers reported 197 million lbs of shipments for April. While lackluster shipments were anticipated, the 19.57% decline from previous April is disappointing as sellers were optimistic that shipments would be slightly better sighting good shipment activity in the second half of April. Year to date shipments are now 3.49% ahead of the 2021 crop season taking a step back from last month which had YTD shipments pacing nearly 7% ahead of previous year. In terms of total supply, California is 76.5% sold & shipped which is 0.8% down from this time last year.
Exports shipments totaled 140.4 million lbs, down 23% from previous April bringing YTD total exports to 1.4516 billion lbs or 8% ahead of this time last year. Domestic shipments of 56.8 million lbs are down 9% for the month and down 6% for the year. Outside of Northeast Asia, all major shipment destinations faltered taking a step back from momentum gained over the previous 3 months of record shipping numbers.
Crop receipts of 22.7 million lbs were a bit larger than anticipated and now put total receipts to date at 2.563 billion lbs.
- Middle East, while total shipments are up 38% for the year, April shipments cooled off reporting a 47% decrease compared to last April. UAE (down 64%) and Turkey (down 44%), accounted for 15.36 million lbs of the total 15.7 million reduced shipments for the region. With impressive YTD shipments, buyers are reporting strong inventory positions as demand transitions into the post Ramadan slowdown.
- Western Europe shipments are down 33% (-22.85 million lbs) with Spain (down 61%, 19.2 million lbs) accounting for the vast majority of the drop off. Early crop reports from Spain are bullish, with handlers reporting a strong bounce back from the disappointing 2022 crop.
- Domestic shipments continue to disappoint with April down 9% from previous year and YTD shipments down 6%. New sales of 30.3 million lbs are down 37% for the month as customers sight sufficient Q4 inventories which also highlights the underlining demand concern.
- India shipments were down 29% compared to previous April. The drop in shipments actually offers a bit of relief to buyers and will likely encourage additional buying activity in the coming weeks. India YTD shipments are up 2%
- Northeast Asia shipments offer a bit of encouragement, up 41% for the month. Shipments to China were up 3.2 million lbs (up 47% for April), likely still fueled by the strong January sales, continue to offer a positive sign that post Covid demand is improving. Japan shipments were up 24% along with South Korea up 79% for the month.
Season to date shipments are now 3.5% ahead of last years pace.
New sales of 114.7 million lbs are down 32% compared to 168 million lbs last April and is the lowest April sales number seen in the past 5 seasons. This was to be expected as concerns about 2023 crop potential hampered sellers’ motivation while prices increasing 40-50% from the January lows dampened buyers enthusiasm resulting in a standoff between buyers & sellers over the past two months. The lack of sales activity draws concern towards future shipments and the carryout potential. At current pace, the potential carryout inches closer to 800 million lbs and increases the importance of tomorrows Subjective Crop Estimate as the industry capitulates potential total supply scenarios (carryout + crop size) and looks to set the tone for the next two months ahead of the Objective Crop Estimate in July.