CatZinfo

Last-minute-deals rule the trade these days. Partly because buyers have simply waited too long in unexpected firming markets; partly because of delays in shipments as shipping companies – in an attempt to save money – touching more ports or taking out ships and consequently remaining vessels overbooked and cargo rolled over to the next vessel. For the long term buyers are holding back nowadays as focussing more on logistics and spot buying and selling as usual in the month of December.

The first news and speculations on the coming crop at the Southern Hemisphere have been reported. With regard to the crops in South-Africa and Chile: so far so good, but we still have some weeks to go.

From Brussels we learned the cranberry duty suspension for US-product will be extended till Jan 1, 2019 anyhow. The Commission will take a new decision during next year.

The dollar firmed a little yesterday but will not have any impact on pricing with this small change.

Dried Fruits

Apricots
The prices are gradually firming for the Turkish apricots. Though crop was big, it turns out more and more there are more costs involved than anticipated to come to one kilo of dried apricots of acceptable quality. A few elements are – the higher drying ratio (more fresh apricots needed to get 1 kilo dried); – high sulphering by farmers, which makes especially for the European market (max 2000ppm) selection more intensive and less suitable material available; – a higher percentage of damaged fruits; – in the last days the Turkish Lira firmed by about 2 to 3%. Our advice would be to cover a larger part of your needs till September 2018 from reliable sources in view of quality and defaults in case market will really go up.

For South-African apricots it is expected again to be a tough year with minimal quantities on offer.

Apples
The shipments of Chinese apples are delayed and causing a severe shortage of the product on the European market at the moment. Prices for spot material are firm at the moment. First arrivals are expected in the coming weeks, but will be rather late to satisfy the seasonal demand,

Banana chips
No changes in the supply of bananachips. Factories in the Philippines still behind their production schedules. Prices stable for the whole chips, but firm for the broken chips, if at all an offer is given by a shipper.

Cranberries
The extension of the duty suspension for US cranberries is good news and will help to lift prices of the product at the source. Structural low pricing with negative yields for the suppliers could not last forever. There for we see prices going up due to closing down of some processors as well as less availability of the product. The artificial withdrawal of some product by the Marketing Committee may even not be needed. We see no downside for time being on the cranberry prices.

Currants
Greek shippers hardly offer any currants and some claim already to have sold for the year.
We have to wait whether South-Africa may bring some relief in a couple of months’ time.

Pineapple/Papaya
Prices for most tropical fruits unchanged. Supply of pineapple will improve but the backlog in production and demand from canneries is still ruling the market and hence prices remain stable. For papaya we see a slight reduction but if demand picks up again, we will be back at the old levels pretty soon.

Prunes
There are not yet any serious offers from Chile for the new crop prunes. Though limited, there are still stock available in Chile of the current crop. The new crop is looking good and if all goes as we see now, we do not expect too many surprises for the new crop.

Raisins
The raisin market is rather volatile these days. Due to the dramatic shortage of the Californian crop 2017, other sources are holding back and/or increase their prices.

The situation in Europe is getting complicated for raisins as buyers have waited what happened in California with this sudden price increase. Consequently there is a good demand on the spot for Thompsons and goldens with limited offers and availability.

South-Africa is sold as well for the crop 2017. Anyhow it will be a safe bet the crop 2018 opening prices from South-Africa will reflect the firmer prices from California.

We also expect less goldens on the market as farmers – who can choose – will go for the Thompsons with a high profit potential and no time consuming sulphering and risky longer drying period.

Also Chile is announcing to open this season with prices at a higher level in view of what happens in California. For the sultanas there is less tension: of course Turkey is trying to obtain better prices and pointing to Iran, which has a disappointing crop it seems. However for Turkey any increase was absorbed by the weaker Lira, but as this one is somewhat firming lately against the dollar, we may indeed see some higher levels for the sultanas as well

Nuts

Walnuts
In California we may assume the crop is safely in now. A little later as on average and consequently arrivals in Europe are coming in a little later than most wanted in view of Christmas (but to postpone Christmas will be a tough one…..).

Prices since the first opening offers have increased by up to 20%, when it became clear the crop was shorter than anticipated. Now most have their goods on the water or even landed, we notice a sluggish demand in California.

Not only from Europe (buyers first wish to see the sales figures before buying at higher levels), but also China and Turkey, traditionally strong buyers, are holding back. With prices on relatively high levels there is some hesitation on the buying side.

But it will not be the first time buyers think it will become a buyer’s market and it turns out California has sold more than anybody has thought. For time being prices are stable. On average the quality is good and light, which makes combo relatively more expensive.

It is too early to say something about the new crop from Chile, which is almost sold for their 2017 crop. First shipment usually in May/June.