CatZinfo Dried Fruits & walnuts

Due to some (inter-)national holidays the activities slowed down somewhat. For most markets there is a wait-and-see status, now crops on the Northern Hemisphere have passed their most vulnerable stage (blossom) and especially night frost did not occur. Of course some hazards like hail, rain, low temperatures when drying, fungus and other diseases  may affect the crops, but these are the usual risks.

We also may draw your attention to the discussions in Brussels about the possible revision for food additives (f.e. sulphites and sorbic acids) by the Commission (Regulation 1333/2008). Obviously EU-officials tend to lower the limits, which may seriously bring problems to the trade in dried fruits. For example brown apricots due to lower sulpher not only will be less attractive, but also shorten shelf life. Therefor we support a strong lobbying to come to a reasonable level, both safeguarding the health of consumers as well as the interest of the industry, creating many jobs and facilitate a living for thousands of farmers.

Two elements which may influence the prices for Turkish products: – the reconciliation between Turkey and Russia, which opens the Russian market again for Turkish products – the slow but steady recovering of the Turkish Lira against the US-dollar (3,56 now against 3,85 in January).

The dollar against the euro is slowly weakening since last week (1,096 at 09:30 today)

Dried Fruits

 

Apricots

The optimal conditions in which the crop of Turkish apricots is developing, has lowered the (still speculative) price for new crop. For current crop prices remain stable – though attractive – as the quantities left, will be just enough to have an easy transition into the new crop. However in view of the elements as described above, we may well see some firming, as simply the Turkish farmers and exporters see no reason to offer lower for these reasons. At the moment all sizes are still well available, whereas for new crop larger sizes may well be limited as typical for a larger crop. Also natural apricots will be relatively scarce and more expensive, as farmers wish to have the option to ‘swap’ their stocks to the next crop and can only do this by sulphuring to extend the shelf life.

Apples Chinese supply is becoming more and more limited; the usual pattern during the season. Prices gradually increase now (cold)storage costs are becoming more substantial for the cost price. Chilean prices are on same level as last year, but with a slightly more expensive dollar ending somewhat higher in euro’s.

Banana chips

The situation on bananachips is slightly improving in origin, but it will take some time before we see this translated in lower prices in Europe.
We hear some disputable shippers are delaying contracts, which is delaying a quick refill of the pipeline.
However when working with strong exporters and partners, there is no need to have a headache about running contracts.

 

Cranberries

USA-exporters of cranberries are still aggressively offering to lower their stocks. Prices are the lowest we have seen in the last 10 to 15 years. All are unanimous: supply must be drastically down in order to beat the structural oversupply as we have it now. The other solution, a strong promotion to increase demand is not realistic. The product showed double growth figures in the last decade and in spite of low pricing at the moment, this is stagnating. The current strategy of buying hand-to-mouth seems to be the best, but perhaps some larger buffer towards the end of the year might be advisable as we expect the next crop will be down.

 

Currants

More and more Greek shippers have the shield ‘sold’ on their window.
It is too early to say something about the coming crop, which is always after the sultana and raisin crops. So we have to cope with the actual empty market till at least October, with no guarantee next crop will be sufficient.
South-Africa as a consequence is selling rapidly the last loads, being a good and priceworthy alternative for the Greek product.

 

Pineapple/Papaya

Though no real problems for most products, the bottleneck is the stock position in Europe. Shipments are coming off too slow whereas demand is strong. Shipments hardly touch the warehouses.
A serious shortage on ginger has caused some drastic price increases. Shippers – as a known strategy – limit sales to a couple of hundred cartons per container, to be combined with other products.

 

Prunes

The Californian shortage on prunes this years is slowly resulting in some more optimism at the Chilean industry. Obviously there is now even interest from the USA market, but also traditional buyers of Californian product are now turning towards the Chilean alternative.
Especially larger size (50/60 and bigger) are of interest and we see some firming of prices in Chile. Prices are still attractive, but in view of the worldwide lesser availability of prunes, we may well advise you to have a look at your positions till spring 2018 for prunes or related products like ‘tutti frutti’.

 

Raisins The market for almost all raisins and sultanas is somewhat dull. As usual after Easter, because the next ‘heavy’ period will be towards the end of the year.
Also the positive development of the crop in Turkey as well as the low prices makes buyers to sit back.
However we feel there is not much needed (see also first paragraphs of this CatZinfo) to find the way up again.
Iran had to follow the Turkish level and is now becoming an attractive source as well.
South Africa is selling well their Thompsons and reports to be sold for most varieties probably during this summer.
California is still struggling with slow sales. In spite of this they are trying to increase prices as being the best option compared to just lowering prices to boost sales but hence selling with a loss.
As a matter of fact, it seems they have again the right marketing strategy and seem to succeed.
Chile is still well stocked with most types, apart for the jumbo goldens, which are very scarce and expensive. Same applies for the South-African origin for this size and colour. 

Nuts

Walnuts Though demand is a little sluggish at the moment, now buyers on hold at the current higher prices. This does not mean the Californian market is weaker.
Certainly for light material market remains firm and offers are limited, with many shippers not offering, some sold and some hoping to sell their last loads at higher prices towards the end of the season.
We still have to do with current crop – at least from the Northern Hemisphere – six months! As consumption remains strong, we expect some supply problems till October, as buyers cautious to buy, hoping the new crop – however available physically only end Oct/Nov – will bring some relief.

Eastern European walnuts are not a real factor this season in view of quality and delivery problems.
Chile is selling out quite easily and the higher qualities (handcracked, extra light) remain firmly priced.