CatZinfo dried fruits & nuts

With the holidays approaching and for some countries still some interesting football matches ahead, trade is coming in a lower gear. Daily business is less active were as focus is now on the new crops on the Northern Hemisphere. The Turkish apricot meanwhile started to be harvested, whereas other crops will be taking off the fields in the coming months.

The consequences of the tariff ‘war’ are also touching some products in our field of business. Cranberries and walnuts are a few of the products which may be affected. The ban on Iranian products called for by the US president is putting Iran more and more in trouble. Now some shipping companies – next to banks – refuse to facilitate services from Iranian ports, it is becoming rather difficult to trade even legally allowed products like dried fruits and nuts from Iran.

Dried Fruits

Apricots

The guessing about the size of the new crop of Turkish apricots has started. “Official” sources mention a crop of around 85K, whereas commercial sources expect a yield of 110K+. However, they remark a good portion will be speckled due to some rain- and hail damage in spring. The sizing seems to be equally spread. For export it is favourable the Turkish Lira is over 20% less in value against the US-dollar than 1 year ago. The carry-out will be around 10,000 tons, mostly small sized fruit. For next season there will be adequate supply to fulfill worldwide demand of average 100K, though with attractive prices we may see a stronger demand and firming prices during the season. Also, the fact most farmers and handlers are financially strong, they may use some tricks by holding back quantities from the market to get better prices.

Apples

The rare quantities offered from China are higher priced due to costs of cold stores and financing. New crop is down with 30% and first shipments expected to be shipped in second half of October, but it is too early to say how much higher they will be compared to last year.

Banana chips

Market still rather stable. The rush for the Asian festivals and Ramadan is over and the next strong demand will be for the winter period in Europe. Supply is still tight so we do expect some further firming during autumn. Positions in Europe are low as most handlers covered carefully.

Cranberries

After all natural and artificial measurements taken by the North American industries, we must conclude they succeeded in lifting the prices substantially. From a structural oversupply we have moved to a firm market with even some shortages with some of the producers.

Currants

The stocks are getting down and last parcels are changing hand at increasing prices. New crop will be available only end September at the earliest, so still 3 months to go. As the acreage growing currants is going down in Greece every year, we do not expect a sudden fall of prices due to a record crop.

Pineapple/Papaya

Stable situation for practically all tropical fruits from Thailand.

Prunes

Though Chile has sold well prices remain stable as demand is slow at the moment. Larger sizes getting scarce. California remains outpriced for Europe and only some hardcore fans still buying minimal quantities.

Raisins

The prices for Turkish sultanas keep increasing after the recent hail damages in some areas. It is too early to assess the damage yet. From Iran there is not much to report. Being not so active anyhow, the recent and renewed ban from president Trump seem to sort somewhat more effect as after problems with payments (in dollars) now also shipping lines are afraid to load goods in Iranian ports.

South Africa is practically sold on the bulk products like medium goldens and Thompsons and what is left are the more ‘special’ sizes and varieties.

California is looking already to the new crop as current crop is practically sold at high levels. Expectations for new crop are for somewhat lower prices, though shippers are holding back yet.

Chili is the usual story with high opening prices, but still some quantities left, which are offered at somewhat more attractive levels as shippers wish to clear their stocks.

 

Nuts

Walnuts

Shipments in May were up somewhat (+5%) but total shipment YTD still down (-12%). The decline of the prices has come to a standstill as in the current pace of shipments the carry out will be a manageable 60K tons.

These will mainly consist of half counts as there is a shortage on the pieces, which will for sure give some headaches for buyers till the end of the year. The new crop may be a little later, but if temperatures are high enough this might be back to a normal timing. It is hard to give any prediction on which way the market will go as there are many moving elements.

First of all, the crop size, not only in California but also in China. Rumours say the crop in China might be good, meaning less need for the Chinese to buy abroad. Also, Chile is becoming a more and more important element. Now Chile will be too late for the coming years to act as ‘fresh’ supplier for the Ramadan period, so they will have to look for other markets.

On top the “political” issues will be another element: will other countries in revenge increase tariffs on Californian walnuts?

Chile, likewise the raisins, has started with high opening prices, but meanwhile came down to more attractive levels, which have been accepted meanwhile by most buyers and top qualities are getting scarce.