CatZinfo Dried Fruits & Nuts
Last days were absolutely very hectic with lots of interest from buyers, who seem to have made up their minds after Anuga. Also we noticed a massive demand for spot material as simply shipments cannot meet the need to fill the warehouses to produce or sell for the seasonal sales.
For many products we see shippers struggle to meet in time with their obligations to send goods in time. Either this is caused by well filled order books (sultanas/tropical fruits) and/or in combination with late harvests (Californian walnuts) or logistic congestions (Chinese apples).
The rate of the Euro/US$ is drifting somewhere around de 1,17/1,18 level. The Turkish Lira is weakening again somewhat, which is in favour of the European importers to hold prices more or less stable in Euros.
Even if crop is good in quantity, most of the fruits are very small sized and a lot of blemished fruits or having other defects. Demand for big sizes is pushing prices up since beginning of the harvest and now still in an increasing tendency. The market is firm in general. It should be taken into account the growers can resist more when compared to the past and not willing to sell their produce lower than the level in their mind. In the last years the apricot business for them has been profitable, so they have some money in the pocket. We may see in the second part of the season some tight positions for first class material and we will see more and more a tow tire market with a wide spread between top-product and big sizes on the one hand and on the other hand ‘promotional’ offers with no guarantees.
Due to all kind of bureaucratic obstacles, shipper have problems in shipping out the new crop as early as they had hoped for. In the empty European market this will mean additional stress for especially the industries, which need a continuous flow of supply to keep production running. Prices are already gradually firming and with this tight market we will see for sure in the course of time a further increase.
As an example of productions which cannot meet demand we can point to the bananachips market. Shippers are fully booked and on top demand for the Asian Festivals is traditionally strong. Prices remain stable with an upward tendency still. Broken bananachips are unavailable in origin.
It seems the last attempt from the joint industry in the USA has not been successful (yet). It was expected (and hoped for) the restriction of production and sales would have pushed the prices up. Apparently oversupply is still that big, we see prices still at very attractive levels.
When the turn will come is hard to predict. For sure in this pace some players will not be able to continue and we know what will happen with prices when the strong players survive.
The availability of the currants out of the new crop is problematic. Some do not even offer and other limit their offers to just one load. Prices have gone up quite a bit, but at the moment are somewhat more stable. South Africa is sold completely but may bring some relief in March/April with the new crop. For sure they will try to match the higher Greek prices.
The crops are coming in. For pineapple it is again the competition with the canneries which do hold prices firm in spite of a somewhat better crop. Papaya is looking good, but prices remain stable as shippers are well booked and do not feel the need to lower their prices already now (knowing the winter season on the Northern Hemisphere is coming with higher consumption).
The prune market is one of the few which slowed down somewhat for time being. European buyers are covered for the winter season and it is too early to speak about the Chilean crop 2018, being the most important source for Europe nowadays.
Most sizes are still available and prices remain stable.
The raisin market is rather volatile. Actually when California announced a lot of damage and consequently a substantial lower yield, prices worldwide started to firm.
Californian prices for Thompsons increased by 20/30% and shippers (of course) reluctant to sell.
South African shippers cannot believe what is happening, as normally in this time of the year struggling to get last loads sold, now have increased prices and hope to get some bonus for their last material. For the new crop will be good, as is expected now – so they wish to be empty when the new crops comes in.
Turkey cannot yet make use fully of this firm trend. Of course sultana type raisins – the majority of the Turkish crop – is a slightly different ballgame, cannot match same increase in prices as for Thompsons. For sure we see however a firm trend at the moment.
From Iran – though difficult to get this confirmed exactly – is having a somewhat disappointing crop. Consequently prices have risen and we see a rare situation prices for Iranian sultanas are higher than for Turkish.
Chile is trying to sell their last loads of flames and natural Thompsons at attractive prices. Jumbo goldens have been sold already for a long time.
The situation In California is not improving from a buyer’s perspective. Especially prices for the inshells are firm, but also for higher qualities light material prices continue to move up.
There are some arguments for the Californian shippers: the crop is late: last year Sep 30 over 200.000 tons were in – this year only 100.000 tons.
Furthermore the markets were empty, so there is a rush for the first shipments. On top most buyers in anticipation of a very good crop – first estimation at 699.000 tons – took a ‘wait-and-see’-attitude. Now prices are moving and product is needed, strong demand is not helping to ease the market. (Nobody has to tell the Californian growers and shippers how it works…..)
As the crop comes in – the last varieties are harvested at this moment – the general assumption is the crop will be closer to the 600.000 tons, which means in order to balance supply and demand prices have to be higher.
European buyers anyhow will have a hard time as shipments are obviously late as well and first arrivals close for Christmas will not make friends!
Chile is selling out last quantities and if at all there was the idea of perhaps lower prices for some last containers, the situation in California is turning obviously also in favour of the Chilean stock holders.