With Christmas only a week away, many of us have probably heard the classic lyrics 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire' in the past weeks, but chestnuts are not the only nut that many of us buy and use in the run up to Christmas. Having looked at hazelnuts three weeks ago, it is now a good time to look at almonds, and see if they can help to sweeten Christmas this year.
The US is by far the world's largest producer of almonds, responsible for approximately 80% of the world's supply. Despite good production in 2011/12, and an excellent 2012/13 crop, prices of almonds have risen significantly since the summer.
Global production for 2012/13 is forecast to be up 5% year-on-year to 1.14m tonnes. This rise in production is due to crop increases in all the major producing countries. Despite reports earlier in the year warning that the harvest of nonpareil almonds in California, the largest producer of almonds in the US, would be down, production in the US is now expected to rise 5% to 0.95m tonnes. This is the result of excellent weather conditions, especially during the blooming period over spring.
The demand and consumption of almonds has risen sharply over the past five years, with estimates placing global consumption for 2012/13 above the one million tonne mark for the first time, at 1.12m tonnes. Not only is consumption forecast to rise in traditional markets such as the US and the EU, but it is also forecast to strengthen in emerging markets such as China.
Domestic consumption in China has risen sharply over the past three years, with consumption for 2012/13 forecast at 0.16m tonnes, having tripled over the last three years. Chinese imports are also forecast to jump in 2012/13, from 0.11m tonnes in 2011/12 to 0.15m tonnes in 2012/13.
Finally, from the team at Mintec, we all hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday.