CatZinfo dried fruits & nuts

More than ever we see a lot of outside elements having influence on our trade. What will in the end be the consequences of tariff on steel from Europe in the US, reinforced sanctions for Iran, elections in Turkey, Brexit, volatile currencies, limitations of pesticides and contaminants by Brussels, etc? The problem is, it is difficult to assess what will be the outcome and the corresponding consequences, as if you lift one stone, others are tipping as well. If a crop is bad or demand is down, there are some reactions one may expect and one can act pro-active.

After INC and PLMA most people back in their office – if not yet on holiday – and we notice quite some activities, even in spite of Ramadan-period, which will end next week. The continuous shortage of quite some products on the spot market is remarkable. It may be explained by the careful approach of buyers in view of good crop expectation in the future, so they are on hold and mainly buying for short term deliveries. Also the volatile currencies may be a factor.

Both dollar and Turkish Lira moving in a wider range in the last few weeks.

Dried Fruits

Apricots

More and more focus is on the new crop from Turkey. Today a similar crop size is expected like last year, However there will be more larger sizes than last year due to the light set of fruit on the trees. Also naturals will be more in quantity as due to rains in May there will be more speckled fruits, which farmers will bring preferably as natural to ‘hide’ the damage. The harvest is expected to start early end of June, so first shipments must be possible end of July. On the long run we see a diminishing acreage as older farmers quit the business and this is not compensated by new orchards! For the current crop the prices remain stable to firm especially for sizes 4 and larger. Actually prices on the domestic market are very firm in an historical perspective, but due to a weak Lira, export prices in dollars are stable.

Apples

Increasing prices in China and lack of stocks in Europe. An almost traditional situation in summer in anticipation of the new crop in Aug/Sep.

Banana chips

Stable market in origin with a typical short situation in Europe as buyers were holding back when prices came down a little. So stocks are tight over here. Meanwhile prices firmed somewhat.

Cranberries

After the shortfall of (on average) 20% in USA and Canada, on top the USDA decided to a 15% Handlers Withholding. So after some years we finally saw a scarce supply situation. It was not a surprise prices started to firm. On top there is a discussion of a 25% reduction of quantity the growers are allowed to bring on the market compared with a ‘normal’ crop. A decision on this should be made this month.

Meanwhile some producers are well booked and we learned already from a shipper to be sold on sliced cranberries till  the end of this year.

Currants

The market for currants is typically quiet at this time of the year. Actually the market is empty and we expect some hectic times in Sep/Oct, when industries need product and new crop from Greece is not yet available.

Pineapple/Papaya

No changes to report. Prices in origin stable and some bottle necks on the spot.

Prunes

Active trading at attractive levels for Chilean prunes. The bigger sizes are getting scarce already.

Raisins

The weaker Turkish Lira camouflages the higher prices for Turkish sultanas at the moment. Due to the worldwide shortage of raisins also the Turkish sultanas are highly in demand.

The new crop is expected to be again a 300K tons, however due to the high levels for Thompson type, it is expected more farmers will go for this type, which will mean less sultanas in the coming season.

Iran is not a player in the market at the moment due to a short crop and on top the problems due to the new sanctions expected after the announcement of Mr. Trump to punish Iran.

South-Africa is sold on Thompsons and goldens apart from some odd containers.

Chile is still a seller of most types, but pricing is not really an incentive.

Nuts

Walnuts

The Californian walnut prices came down considerably. It made the market come into the self-fulfilling spiral, as buyers sit back and waiting. At the moment we see prices stabilize somewhat as most shippers are nevertheless comfortably sold.

Question will be (see opening remarks) what other countries will do as a reaction on the ‘steel’ tariffs the USA imposed for import. For example India put a 100% tariff on walnuts from USA. Being a ‘good customer’ for the Californian walnuts, it means some quantity shall have to be sold elsewhere as for sure demand from India will fall. One can imagine other areas/countries will follow and choose walnuts as well as a ‘revenge’-product. These markets probably will have a restricted demand as well.

Chile has sold well and prices are stable now, after a reduction of the opening prices announced at the Gulfair, which levels were not sustainable.