CatZinfo – Dried Fruits & Walnuts
In the approach to the Chinese New Year-festivals trading is slow and mainly concentrating on spot business. Most markets are rather ‘flat’ these days. Demand for products from the Northern Hemisphere is low, whereas there might be some demand for products from the Southern part – with the crops about to begin – but most shippers are reluctant in offering if we take f.e. the South African raisin industry. We suppose in the coming weeks we will see more activity, as buying for the Ramadan will increase and at that moment prices for the new crops from the Southern Hemisphere will likely be known. Perhaps next week on the Gulfood Fair in Dubai, some shippers will use this as the platform to announce prices.
Further we do face a rather volatile US-dollar in the last week (up and down by 2% in the last few weeks) which also makes buyers hesitant to take larger positions.
The sharp increase of prices for Turkish apricots since the beginning of the year, has somewhat softened. We still can speak about a firm market, certainly for the bigger sizes. Shipment YTD are up by 20%, but if this continues at the same pace till the end of the season, ideally we will end with a comfortable but not too big carry out into the next season. However some remarks must be made. First of all about the current crop, as the quality of the fruit is on average low, so we may end up with lots of industrial fruits and a short on reasonable quality fruit. The other remark is on the new crop: temperatures in Turkey are well above average and an early bloom is still expected. The risk of night frost during the vulnerable stage of the bloom accumulates and as we know from 4 years ago: just one night of frost can destroy 90% of the crop. On top the water reservoirs are less filled than usual due to a severe drought in Eastern Turkey and some rain or snow is desperately needed. All together we see a number of hazards which may push prices up further, against only some statistical arguments in favour of lower indications. South Africa is reporting the smallest apricot crop since many years.
First – but late – arrivals of the new crop from China have landed in Europe. For time being there is less pressure on the market, but we see only covering for the coming months. As soon as the pipelines run empty again, we will be confronted with a low level of material in China, as production this year is considerably down, due to environmental shut down of factories or restrictions in the capacity of the processing plants. Prices remain firm and some varieties already difficult to get.
The usual demand for the festival periods in Asia came to a standstill now the ‘party’ begins. As expected we see a slightly lower price level as factories wish to keep their facilities running. In a few weeks normally buying will be heavier for the Ramadan period and we may see prices return to the higher levels again. In combination with the actual attractive euro/dollar, we may well advise you to have a look at your needs for the longer period.
Definitely the prices for cranberries are on the move. Finally the industry has succeeded to limit production – partly because some farmers quit because of too low yields – and we see a firmer market all over the place. Shippers already claim to be fully booked for the coming a period, a sound we did not hear for a long period…..
Though it is not the ‘time’ for the currants, there is nevertheless somewhat more attention for the product now South Africa is about to come in the market. Having the nearly sold position of the Greek shippers at higher levels in mind, we may expect South Africa to start at seriously higher levels. Not only because of Greece, but also taken into account a substantial smaller crop (some speak about 50% less) and the stronger Rand will make opening prices touch the Greek levels we expect.
Prices somewhat easier now demand has slowed down at the moment.
More and more Chilean shippers announcing their new crop prices. As expected the levels are a continuation of the prices of last season with minor changes. For time being all sizes available for shipment. This contrary for spot material, where supply of the larger sizes is getting limited.
The prices for Californian raisins came to a level we would have called ‘unbelievable’ half a year ago. The short crop however has forced processors to pay daily higher prices to get material in their plants and we notice meanwhile an increase of over 50% compared with last year.
We are still waiting for the opening levels from South Africa, though limited in quantity (only 50 to 60K tons in total), their level will be a ‘psychological’ sign for all other origins. Obviously prices will be well above last year’s, as they know what’s happening in California and as mentioned before: the stronger Rand against the dollar). Turkish prices for sultanas remain firm. With the substantial shortage from California some demand is shifted to Turkey, though not always Thompsons can be substituted by sultanas.
Iran has also a short crop with 20/25% less for sultanas and 30/40% less for goldens. Prices on higher levels. Chile has opened carefully for their jumbo sized raisins, which are particularly popular in Europe. We see however prices meanwhile firming from Chile as well, as there is more demand from Northern America for the medium sizes, which draws the prices for the other sizes up as well.
Fact remains worldwide supply of dried grapes will be less and this clearly has its effect on all types and origins.
The January shipment from California were a little disappointing for the Californian shippers.
January – 1% but YTD meanwhile 15% less, whereas the crop is 9% less. So the increase of prices has done its job and if shipments continue like this a manageable carry over will be left. However we doubt whether shipment continue in the same speed, as obviously the first 2 months of the crop are the most ‘heavy’ ones and usually the summer period is less hectic.
On the other side the larger buyers like Turkey and China have been quiet so far and once they step in the market we may see another jump of prices. For time being we see prices for light material move side wards, whereas levels for pieces and combo/domestic firming somewhat, as on average this season quality and colour were very good.
For Chile it is too early to say something about prices. The crop develops well and it is expected Chile will end up with a crop of 130K tons, again more than the previous season, due to the continuous new plantings of new trees.