With some crops already in and other at the beginning of harvesting, it is obvious the season 2017/18 has started. Actually, for most new crops trading has been cautious as several elements either made sellers or buyers hesitant to step in heavily. Also, we see premiums being paid for the first shipments, as buyers had hoped for lower prices and their stocks running empty. This again has provoked quite some interest for spot material, so we estimate stock positions of most items to be low. Hence we see in several markets prices have left the lower areas now demand is picking up and good crops are not that good because of all kind of stories (weather, delayed, no workers etc.) issued by the sellers are of course highlighting the negative effects of these elements. The dollar remained at the lower level of around 1,17/1,18, which is making imports cosmetically a little more attractive.
The crop is in with a delay of about 10 days later than on average. Turkeys president has granted the country some extra holidays in connection with the “eid-al-adha” (Feast of Sacrifice), meaning a break starting next Saturday Aug 26 till Sep 5th. This will disrupt the packing of the first and heavy shipments from the new crop obviously. It will put some pressure on the availability of apricots in the consuming countries for at least another week. Also the fact the crop is extremely damaged by the adverse weather circumstances earlier, has firmed the prices. Another element is the fact, that due to the big crop, farmers have heavily sulphered the apricots to extend the shelf life into the next crop (for them hopefully smaller at higher prices).This means we see an ambiguous market with premiums for the EU-market, which has a strict regulation on Sulphur (2000ppm) and other markets, amounting to several hundred dollars difference per ton. Food safety and market protection has its price!
Meanwhile the first crop of Gala-variety has been sold due to minimal availability in China. For the later shipment, the other varieties will come in the picture but shipment only as of October. Prices remain pretty stable for time being, but as usual will increase during the season when cold store material has to be used for the later shipments.
Situation remains difficult. Prices for whole banana chips from the Philippines have increased further. For broken chips, the situation is even worse as these are hardly being offered and if, at same levels or even more expensive than the wholes.
The American Industry has reached an agreement to hold back 15% of the crop this year and next year only to sell 15% of a normal crop. There are still a lot of open issues, but these measurement without doubt will have some influence and heads to a firmer market. In the meantime prices still attractive and stable.
With hardly any material available on the spot, all eyes are on the new crop in Greece. Though signs are positive, the new supply will fall on an empty market and the Greek exporters know very well how to handle greedy markets.
Heavy and traditional demand for the last months of the year will result in firm market at least till January 2018 in spite of an eventual good crop.
Some hick-up reported from Thailand for pineapple and papaya in the transition to the new crops. Factories are short of raw material and postponing shipments.
Prices remain flat, but the problem is the availability of these fruits. We expect after Oct/Nov to see some more attractive pricing, but that will be for arrival in 2018.
We have to set the expected Californian crop of close to 100K in the perspective of the average crops in the last 5 to 10 years and see it will be an average crop. The 50K of last year was exceptionally disappointing. We do not expect to see a major change in the pricing for Californian prunes other than a slight decrease in pricing.
The crop in Chile is developing well. After enough chilling hours in the winter the trees are preparing for the bloom in September.
Bigger size prunes are getting scarce, but smaller sized fruits are well available.
Usually it is rather hectic in these days on the raisin and sultana markets, but both buyers and sellers are holding back.
Turkey is having a slightly smaller crop and prices did increase somewhat, but at the moment again stable.
California has increased the prices considerably, but sellers now holding back so not much activity to report.
Where one would expect South Africa to take advantage of the increased prices in California, the sales are also here not very abundant. Nevertheless, we expect SA to be sold on the short term for Thompsons.
Chile is the old song again: more and more ‘last’ container coming on the market against attractive prices (only jumbo goldens are really scarce and expensive).
Iran is following the Turkish prices as usual for their sultanas.
Walnuts The harvesting is about to start and prices remain firm. The processors are sold for long time already and feel comfortable they can bring the new crop on an empty market at better prices.
The heat continues in California and more and more stakeholders are concerned about the color of the crop. If indeed on average it will be darker, premiums will be required for genuine light material.
Chile is sold on hand cracked top material.
New crop from Eastern Europe will come on the market after September, but it is expected the quantities will be limited.