CatZinfo dried fruits & nuts
Those returned from holidays did not miss much developments of markets. Most markets are rather quiet in anticipation of the harvests on the Northern Hemisphere which have either started or still have to start. We suppose also on holidays you will not have missed the result of Mr.Trump’s threats towards Turkey and the devastating consequences on the value of the Turkish Lira. Fluctuations of 10% per day(!) made it impossible for Turkish shippers to offer. With this week’s religious holiday the Turkish sellers have a good excuse to stay away from the market, as this is for everybody a first time experience having such fluctuations. Also the continuous announcements of further taxes on imports into the USA and the reciprocity from the countries hit by this slowed down trade. Most people first wish to see the consequences in practice, before entering substantially into the various markets. Therefore we see a lot of hand-to-mouth activities these days.
We cannot speak about a ‘market’ for apricots. Any business made in the last few weeks was either a loss for the buyer or seller due to the volatility of the Turkish Lira. Some buyers took a gamble and bought when the US$/YTL was over 7,00, but it means the Turkish seller is having a loss with the rate now back to the level of 6,00. Anyhow Turkey was closed this week, so activities were none to zero. The crop is in and with over 100K, though with relatively more damaged fruit, there will be enough fruit if we add the carry out of 30K. Organic and natural will be short due to the low prices.
Not only the restructuring of the factories as ordered by the Chinese government in view of environmental measurements is heating the market. Also the frost during the blossom period has hit the Chinese apple crop. For time being shippers are withdrawn and prefer first to see the outcome of the crop as well as the governmental restrictions to run a factory for drying apples. For sure prices for apples will be firmer than last season.
All factories which can comply to the European limits for PAH-values are fully booked and delayed shipments are actual. It means stocks in Europe are down and prices firming.
The rains have hit the Greek currant industry. The crop will be less than expected and shippers refrain from offering now already. With an almost zero-carry out, there will be no doubt opening prices will be firm. It may still take some weeks before most shippers will start to offer, as they wish to see the crop in.
Slightly firmer prices in the transition period of the new crop for some products like papaya and mango.
California is heading for another ‘expensive’ year as crop is limited (down from 110K to 80K tons) for another year. Reason being the change of many farmers to crops with a higher yields, especially nuts.
Increased import duties in China for American prunes may divert more import from Chile. Of course Chilean exporters will not object and will see an opportunity to raise prices.
Small fruits are difficult to find in Chile and this will obviously not change until the new crop in Q1 2019.
Likewise the apricots, there is not a market price for Turkish sultanas. Some speculative offers are around with all kind of “ifs” and “buts” with regard to the currency developments. There is a wide spread of prices offered and one can question when stepping in at a low price, will there be something in it for the Turkish shipper at the end and worthwhile to ship?
So more than ever it is important to have a solid seller in such markets.
Iran does not seem to play a role in Europe (and certainly not in the USA) after the ban on trade with Iran by the USA.
Chile is still having some quantities of the various varieties in the jumbo sizes. This year, due to the worldwide shortage of raisins, there is no need for them to discount. Some occasional offers can be picked up from shippers in need of some cash.
South Africa is now close to sold on most types. Being well below the Californian prices they were sold on Thompson rather quickly and now also other varieties are finished. Remarkably demand from USA for South-African product tripled this season. Though very early, so far so good on the development of the 2019 crop, but well before blossom, much can happen. California is heading for another bad year and shippers in doubt where the market will go. California growers will face rising costs of product due to minimum wage increases and a shortage of field workers. Only a few processors are offering at the moment at ‘safe’ prices.
We are still in the middle of a Mexican standoff: buyers knowing a good crop is ahead and well covered can wait, whereas Californian shippers are well financed and can wait as well. Buyers should however not forget time is running and it will be impossible to be all on the first vessel. So we may well advise to have a look at a first covering for early shipments in order to have something in the warehouse before Christmas.
A few shippers are willing to discount when taking some volume. The most probably bigger crop 2019 from Chile is on the other hand another argument for the buyers to operate carefully.