CatZinfo – Dried Fruits & Nuts

Last week was Anuga-time! We met many of our readers and could have some pleasant conversations. If we may come to a conclusion: food is booming again! It was crowded and most people were enthusiastic about the fair (though finding a parking place was somewhat complicated).

Most markets were active, though we do not think Anuga is the place to do the business, but rather to discuss market developments and expectations. The business will be done in the coming weeks as buyers also need to cover for the winter period. New crops are available (or close before shipment)  and prices for most products are volatile.

 

Dried Fruits

Apricots

In spite of a good crop in Turkey, there are quite some issues influencing this market. First of all the quality of the crop is varying with quite some percentage to be classified as industrial due to blemished and spotted fruits as well as on average smaller fruits. Secondly for Europe there is the Sulphur issue: farmers in expectation of higher prices later in the season, have used on average higher Sulphur doses. This means additional labour for the processors to bring this down below the 2000ppm threshold. We therefor see a bigger price difference between prices for EU-markets and those with higher or free limits for SO². These facts made prices on the domestic market in Malatya firm. Another issue is the rate of the Turkish Lira against the dollar. After some political decisions the Turkish Lira weakened by a couple of percent, which for the buyers in the Turkish export markets compensated the firmer prices. The new crop in South-Africa is predicted to be small again.

Apples

First shipment from China will be shipped in the coming weeks, being somewhat later than usual. This is however causing some problems on the spot market as certainly in Europe stocks are low. Prices for immediate delivery are higher and also in China prices are firming as demand for first shipments is substantial and making exporters confident to ask more.

 

Banana chips

Though it is hard to put a figure on the yield of the (continuous) crop, fact is demand is rather active and causing higher prices. As supply is also down due to weather circumstances and market in Europe are empty, we expect a firm market at least till spring 2018.

Cranberries

There is not yet any green light for an official program to withdraw quantities off the market in the USA. This may help to lift the prices somewhat and make it worthwhile for farmers and industry to continue production of the cranberries. Up to now prices remain flat, but a upward reaction will come, simply because otherwise producers will have to stop at current prices.

Currants

The year on year diminishing crop in Greece is even worse than expected. Talking with several suppliers they think the crop will be even below 15.000 mtons. Some shippers already stopped offering as they have already some commitments and do hardly get in enough quantity to meet these contracts. Prices are firm obviously. As reported before the South African source has dried up already and can only bring some relief in Q2-2018. The crop in SA by the way – under normal circumstances – is growing in quantity every year, but still only 20/25% of the Greek yield.

Pineapple/Papaya

The Thai producers do not foresee major problems with the coming crops of pineapple and papaya. For pineapple price developments much will depend on the needs of the canneries.

Another headache is the backlog in production as leadtime for new orders is still way longer than usual.

Prunes

Chile is selling out the current crop and has still some though limited quantities available. Shippers are maybe sold on certain sizes, however other shippers do have these. Of course still about 6 months to go till the new crop 2018 comes available, so we do not expect any major price decrease in view of the restricted supply. California came down somewhat on prices now a bigger crop came off the orchard, but is still far away from the Chilean prices.

Raisins The earlier reported smaller crop than anticipated in California is causing some headaches for those sold short for the coming season. Prices increased by 20/25% and there are hardly alternatives.

South-Africa is sold and of course those holding stocks in the second hand do follow the market. Though a little early to be precise, the new crop in South-Africa is looking good, but as we know, Mother Nature can spoil the party till after drying. However indications are for over 60.000 mton. To put this immediately in a perspective: this is 10% of California and Turkey together. Nevertheless pricing of South Africa is certainly influencing the market prices of other origins. Turkey has about 5% less and prices at the Boursa in Turkish Lira increased. However same as with apricots, the weaker Lira is offsetting this increase for the buyer in dollars abroad.

Nuts

Walnuts

Prices for the new crop Californian walnuts have definitely firmed. Especially inshell walnuts increased as demand from Asia/Turkey (which crack themselves) is brisk. Also shelled product continues to rise in price as the crop is coming in ‘lighter’ in quantity than expected but ‘darker’ in colour due to the high temperatures at the end of the growing season.

On top shipments are later and Chandlers will not arrive before end November / early December in Europe.