CatZinfo – Dried Fruits & Nuts

Finally trading eased somewhat now a great number of people are on holiday. We expect after next week everything will be back to normal.
Meanwhile we have seen a weaker dollar, touching almost 1,19 for the euro, making some prices somewhat more interesting to import.

Most crops are being harvested at this moment (apricots/sultanas) or about to start with the harvest (prunes/walnuts). The figures about the size of the various crops become more and more accurate now the fruits are coming in and farmers have a pretty good idea what the outcome will be.

Turkish and Iranian sultanas are listed since July 1 on the ‘high risk’ list (EU-Regulation 669/2009) in view of the larger quantities. We are anxious to see if there will be any disruption in supply, as well as the values which will be found. Let us hope the Turkish sultana industry has the ochratoxin A issue under control.

Dried Fruits

Apricots

As the crop is big, it takes some time to get everything in. As a consequence workers are still in the fields and not yet available for the packers. So this may cause a slight delay in the first shipments.

The big crop was predicted already in an earlier stage and has developed without problems quantity wise. As such the prices came down in the months before already. However it is reported a lot of speckled fruit is amongst the harvested fruits. This is one of the reasons prices are somewhat firmer at the moment. Second reason for an upward trend is the fact farmers have made good money in recent years and many have the capability to hold some material off the market. We expect anyhow to see a wide spread in the offered prices. First of all most farmers have heavily sulphered in order to extend shelf life now prices are on a lower level. The difference in price for EU-suitable materials and those for the rest of the world will be bigger. Also in view of the higher percentage speckled fruit, we will see a substantial premium for really good quality and FAQ.

Apples

The first harvest of the Gala-variety in China is rather disappointing in quantity and quality. It means we have to wait for the Qinguan, which is looking better, but only will become available in about 2 months’ time (and needs to be shipped than still to Europe).

At the moment the available quantities on the spot in Europe are getting tight and prices are firming.

Banana chips

Prices remain firm with slow shipments causing bottlenecks in supply for the European market. Brokens are still not available in origin and stocks drying up.

Cranberries

As reported before, the cranberry producing countries are studying to reduce the production and reverse the structural oversupply.

As the coming crops are expected to be more or less same worldwide as previous years, the American industry has proposed some measurements.

For the coming crop an obligatory 15% disposal of the produced volume by the handlers and in turn for the ’18 crop a 25% reduction of the regular crop figure by the farmers of the grown volume. All based on the current and approved crop figures.

No doubt this will reverse the down going price trend of the last years next to the usual economic correction in case farmers cannot make any money on a crop and will switch to other cultures.

Currants

With both Greece and South-Africa out of offers obviously prices remain firm at least till the new Greek crop will come on the market after September. Suppose no need to explain the expected scenario when the Greek industry knows they have at hand a product to land on an empty market……besides the yet unknown size of the new crop. Anyhow shippers point already on the extreme temperatures in July and heavy rainstorms, which may have affected the crop negatively.

Pineapple/Papaya

Situation from Thailand still unchanged with slightly better possibilities for shipments as well as ping for some fruits.

Papaya is well available and offered at somewhat lower prices, however for shipment in autumn, so for time being second hand is ruling the market.

The ‘smaller’ products like ginger, guava, mango, coconut etc. remain expensive and limited availability.

Prunes

The Californian crop will be double of last year’s disaster crop (50K tons) and is aiming for about 100K tons, which is similar to the ’14 and ’15 crop. The continuous pulling out of the prune trees has halved the bearing acreage since the beginning of this century and finally resulted in higher prices for the Californian industry.

We doubt whether the double quantity compared to last year will cause a dramatic drop in prices as California is relying on their traditional domestic market as well as the Asiatic and American continent. The industry will prevent a steep drop in pricing, which may cause even more pulling out of trees.

Therefore the European market will be served mainly by the Chilean/Argentine supply added by the French origin, though the last one playing a decreasing role outside of their home market.

Chile is selling out last loads. Being the cheapest seller in Europe, they were able to move a good quantity of the crop 2017 already.

Raisins The news comes from the Northern Hemisphere with especially Turkey in the spotlights.

The crop in Turkey will be somewhat smaller but with an expected 10% less there will not be panic. At the moment the crop has started and first available quantities have been sold already. Prices firmed due to a more expensive Turkish Lira as well as the fact farmers holding larger quantities away from the “Boursa” in order to keep the market tight.

Iran is still too early to say something about the new crop and is usually later.

South-Africa only has left some Thompson and Goldens but announced it can be sold any moment now. For Goldens we may see some tensions as not only the last in the different varieties to ship, also next year buying for (again an earlier Ramadan) shall have to take partly from the 2017 crop.

Chile has left enough quantities – except jumbo Goldens – and is offering at steady levels.

California finally succeeded to lift the price level, reason why we expect South-Africa to be sold within short now difference is substantial in favour of SA.

Nuts

Walnuts The game is on as far as Californian walnuts are concerned. A bigger crop (670K against 700K tons expected) usually means lower prices, but as demand is still massive and most shippers will end with empty warehouse and sold already for months, also the pipelines will be empty. Moreover the crop will be one week to 10 days later.
Just published shipping figures showed a 13% overall increase of shipments YTD. Perception at the farmers is: the crop was sold pretty early this season, so no worries about to move the next crop: so why lower prices?
Another issue is the long-lasting heat wave with temperatures well over 100F/37C, which may cause sunburn and the chance for a lot of dark and combo material. This may lead to higher premiums for the higher percentages with light halves. For sure in view of the empty markets there will be strong demand for the first shipment, so we expect prices to remain firm to rising.

Chile is actually sold on the hand-cracked light material, though you may find some material still. Certainly the light machine-cracked material from Chile might be a good alternative in case California will come back to the higher levels.