The outcome of the new crops on the Northern Hemisphere is becoming more and more known. Some crops are in already (apricots) and some have just begun (Californian walnuts).
Buyers do realize time is ticking and the important end-of-the-year period for most products is getting closer. There is still some hesitation as some crops are looking good and prices are weakening still.
Also “external” factors do influence our business: like the trade war triggered by Mr. Trump may divert partly the traditional patterns (we suppose Turkey will buy less Californian walnuts…..) and also the currencies are more volatile than ever.
From Brussel we learnt Iprodione limit will be set at the lowest level -so practically not allowed anymore – without any grace period for the crop 2018.
Especially for the Turkish sultanas this might be a challenge, though this decision being expected already some time, we learned already last season farmers stopped using this pesticide. We therefore expect no major problems when this new Regulation will be enforced from August or September 2019 onwards.
Actually one can hardly speak about a market. There is a wide spread in pricing, caused by the different situation of each packer. If in need for cashflow of course this shipper is inclined to offer lower. Another issue is the lack of good material for the higher end products like no. 0 and 1. Usually for this product the apricots must be without speckles or other damages, but this basic material is hard to find and we may see a bigger gap between these big sizes and the average no. 4 and 5. It is too early to make any prediction for the next crop and as such it is also hard to have an educated guess about future pricing. Not only knowledge about the apricot market, but also a clear view of the currencies, i.e. the Turkish Lira and the US$, is required. Prices on the local market have not been weak. For the export markets, this has been absorbed by the weak Turkish Lira against the dollar.
The crop is a disaster in China. A heavy frost in April has damaged the crop and the quantity of apples available for dehydration has halved. On top there are yet hardly any factories in the main producing provinces for apples (Shanxi and Shandong) due to the strict environmental measurements resulting in closing down almost all factories. Most are now in the process to work on upgrading the facilities and get a new permission, but this may take till end of this year. Where usually these days first new crop was loaded on board, this year we do not expect a first and limited shipment earlier than November. Prices meanwhile firmed considerably as could be expected.
The market for banana chips is moving sideways. Supply is a little slow, which make available positions in Europe rather tight. We therefore may advise you to have a look at your needs till end of this year in order to secure material in time.
Another market with some problems ahead. Most Greek shippers are withdrawn as the crop is rather disappointing. They prefer first to have the crop in in order to know whether they can fulfil the early contracts and later on see if additional quantities can be offered. Also here it will not be a surprise prices firmed. The only alternative, South Africa, was sold out also already early and may bring some relief in Mar/Apr 2019. However, apart from a relatively limited quantity, for sure they will adapt prices to the Greek level.
The crop for pineapple, natural papaya and mango will be in this month. It is still unclear how the yield will be and we hope to give you a better overview in our next CatZinfo. No major price changes other than to remark prices for mango are somewhat firmer as most probably additional selection will be needed on colour for this crop.
Chile is in a comfortable position: selling out without hardly any competition (California is at a much higher level and selling mainly domestically). The stocks are going down and especially small size prunes are limited. For next season we will have to wait till end October after pollination has occurred in order to say something smart about the new crop.
The smaller than expected crop in Turkey has meanwhile been digested and has been converted in somewhat higher prices. Meanwhile we would call them ‘stable’ as buyers are still hesitant to step in for reasons as mentioned above. The Iranian crop is bigger than last years, however for Europe this is a more theoretical issue. Though there are even legal ways to trade with Iranian sultanas, the banks are very afraid to assist in any transfer which has even the slightest ‘smell’ of being from Iran and most of the time reject or simply block the money. California keeps the prices up, being almost the monopolist for the higher end qualities natural Thompsons. The moment stocks of South African Thompsons will be tight – origin sold already long time ago – the Californian shippers will get their chance. The new crop from South-Africa will not be available before March/April 2019. Also special size like jumbo and small raisins are getting limited available in Europe. Chile has still available most of the varieties and sizes which are offered and slightly easier prices at the moment.
Meanwhile the Californian walnut market was subject to a major correction. The expected crop of 690K tons in combination with slower shipments did drop prices considerably. In this process buyers were in the driver seat and waited and waited. Prices came to relatively very attractive levels and in the last few days we saw a renewed interest from buyers realizing that you can only make money on cheap products if they are in the warehouse. As even the first shipments – meanwhile booked – will not arrive before end October / early November, the selling period before Christmas is getting very limited if not yet ordered. This is also understood in California and we see a reverse direction of prices in the last days now interest is coming back. Chile is trying to maintain the higher price levels. They succeed in the higher end product, but for the pieces and darker material, more and more ‘special’ and ‘last’ containers are popping up at discounted prices.