CatZinfo – dried fruits & walnuts

After a period of daily breaking news about volatile currencies and new imposed tariffs, the last 2 weeks it seemed we reached a cooling down period. Turkish suppliers still see some unchartered waters ahead, as the rate of the Turkish Lira may still go either way after a tweet of Mr. Trump or a remark of Mr. Erdogan. The activities from this origin are typically a hand-to-mouth trading as neither shippers nor buyers wish to commit themselves for a longer period. A change of the rate in the Turkish Lira by 10%/15% overnight is not impossible and could turn a profitable business quite easy into a loss. At the eve of the new crops coming on the market we shall have to see whether the various tariffs raised by f.e. most Asiatic counties for Californian product will change the trade flows.

The Euro/US$ rate was pretty stable with a margin of around 1% between high and low.

Dried Fruits

Apricots

Following the above, it is no surprise the Turkish apricot market is in the doldrums. Prices are somewhat lower than last year’s but do not reflect the drop of the rate of the Turkish Lira. The crop looks okay with sufficient material to meet demand. Farmers and speculators feel prices must be higher and sit on the product. Shippers only selling for nearby with huge differences in pricing, depending on the financial situation of the seller. At the same time buyers are cautious as too many non-trade elements may turn this market upside down.

Apples

The Chinese shippers are still withholding their offers. Partly because it is still unclear which and to what extend factories may start producing, as the government is looking at the environmental issues of each site. Secondly because the apple crop in China has been severely hit by rains and some even speak about 40% less. For spot the prices have exploded with a 20/25% premium for spot material. The crop will be available in October and we expect new crop prices in the coming weeks, which undoubtfully will be higher than we are used to.

Banana chips

Steady market with hardly any changes in prices. Nearby positions are limited and in demand.

Currants

Still no good news on the currants, a popular product for the Christmas period. The crop has suffered from adverse weather and will be down considerably. The crop is about to start. First indications of prices are obviously firm.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango

No major changes to report. Spot position with most importers tight.

Prunes

Also for this product a quiet market with only some occasional business. California remains overpriced in comparison with the Chilean offers. Chile is selling out to have clean floors before the end of the year and start empty for the crop 2019. Prices pretty stable with some bottlenecks in the smaller sizes.

Raisins

Turkish sultanas are firming in spite of the weaker Lira (-31% in August). Disappointing yield of the crop with about 40/50K tons less than expected. Sellers only willing to do business for the short term depending on their cash position and sitting on their stocks. This makes available quantities very limited and increasing prices. Californian opening prices are firm again and a continuation of last year’s levels. For time being with SA sold, they only have (worth mentioning) competition from the Turkish industry, but qualities not always exchangeable. Chilean jumbo sizes still available and sold at steady levels.

Nuts

Walnuts

No one can deny the market for walnuts came down. The objective crop report from the Californian Walnut Board confirmed actually the earlier subjective estimation of 690.000 (short) tons. So the Californians have to move extra 10% this season, which in view of the lower prices seems not to be a mission impossible on its own; certainly not for shelled product. However, how will the relatively larger markets for inshells like China, India and Turkey react, now an additional tariff has been imposed on walnuts in reaction of the American tariffs? Especially these markets for inshells could be the cause Californian exporters have to look for other markets. Anyhow buyers remain afraid to step in, however we see today’s prices being accepted more and more and may see a correction within short. Though waiting has been a good option so far, at a certain moment product is simply physically needed in the warehouse to sell or produce as before we know Santa Claus is in town….. Obviously Chile has to follow with their pricing in order to sell, certainly knowing next crop they will have probably to move again another record crop. Only handcracked material seems to be stable in price as being almost sold.