CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS

The fruit crops from the Southern Hemisphere have meanwhile shown their cards. Crops have more or less finished and the size of the crop is known and drying is in full swing.
Weather conditions in Chile are fine, as well as in South Africa, though here some minor rains are expected today, after which temperatures passing again the 40 degrees Celsius.
On the other hand: the demand side is more difficult to judge. The consequences of the ‘war on tariffs’ initiated by the American president are still unclear.
Traditional flows of trade have changed; f.e. India, China and Hong Kong have slowed down imports from USA. This made it necessary for the Californian exporters to develop other markets, like in broader Middle East area, in which they have succeeded quite well if we see the figures .
However now there are shortages in these countries, the market might get eager for product and absorb the higher tariffs. In that case no doubt markets will firm, which we see already happening.
Next week the Gulfood Fair will be held in Dubai and this is becoming more and more the traditional start of the announcement of the Chilean opening prices.
The dollar is slightly getting somewhat stronger against the euro and increased by 2% in the last two weeks.

Dried Fruits

Apricots
Though activities seem to be a bit slow, shipments from Turkey go at a steady pace, which makes the industry believe the carry out will be minimal.
Price are due to the lack of activity stable, but we also notice a big spread between the various suppliers. Apparently those in need for cash are willing to give in quite a bit. The larger sizes will remain a problem with a serious premium to be paid for good quality.
The Turkish Lira for some weeks is more or less stable, which may encourage shippers also to take somewhat more contracts for later shipments as well.
All eyes are on the coming blossom period and the accompanying weather circumstances, which will dominantly give direction to the market.

Apples
The situation is still unchanged. Serious shortages for Chinese material have caused a scarce market in Europe. We do not foresee any change till end of this year.
Prices are firm and obviously the standstill of the factories for about 10 days due to the Chinese New Year holidays, has not helped to speed up the slow shipments.

Banana chips
Also for the Philippine bananachips the problem increases due to the slow shipments. Quite a number of contracts are confronted with delayed bookings for shipment.
On the spot  stocks are low and free product hard to find.

Cranberries
The cranberry prices are moving sideways.
Demand has picked up somewhat and the result of the (artificial) limitation of the production and holding back products nay be paying off for the producers in the coming period..

Currants
Due to the second failure crop of South African currants the offers are limited and – as could be expected – at a higher level.
The total crop will not be more than 2000 tons and the size of the fruits is rather small, which made it necessary to adapt the specifications for the count.
For time being buyers are not yet very enthusiastic as Greek offers are at more or less same level with a more acceptable berry count.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
Certainly for the papaya we notice some problems. Supply of good and non-GMO material is hard to find due to flooding in the South of Thailand. Serious delays in shipments have occurred; meaning short supply in Europe as well. Prices are obviously firm for all papaya products.
For pineapple the situation is unchanged with a flat pricing pattern.
The season for mango will start next month and is looking satisfactory, so no major changes are to be expected, however the Thai Baht has increased its value against the dollar.

Prunes
The crop in Chile is estimated at over 80.000 mtons, which will mean a marketable volume and same as last year.
First indication of prices are not very surprisingly a continuation of last year’s levels. The average size will be 60/70 as it is seen now.

Raisins
The market for Turkish sultanas is also somewhat in the doldrums. Though prices remain same and no signs of weakness yet, activities are slow.
The fact prices remain stable may have to do with the worldwide firm pricing from all origins.
Iran has more or less disappeared as an important player on the European market, due to the political measurements to hit Iran’s income sources.
The crop in South Africa will be somewhat smaller than expected and about one week later. First prices are somewhat above last year’s levels.
Focus will be on Thompsons as these type of production giving the highest premium related to the risks during drying. So goldens will be less available.
From Chile we hear all is going well and similar to last year’s yield. Demand may get a boost from the American market, suffering from a shorter cop in California.
Opening prices are above last year’s for this reason.

Nuts

Walnuts
Californian shippers are getting more and more confident they will move this bigger crop. Shipment figures support this idea.
Traders having made contracts at lower levels are now covering domestically to be able to honour their obligations. Shelling stock is hardly obtainable and all together this makes the market firmer.
As we were at quite attractive levels, the consumption will increase and accelerate demand.
First prices for inshell walnuts from Chile have entered the market, but as indicated above, the ‘real’ opening prices for most products from Chile will be announced at the Gulfood Fair.
A challenge for the Chilean industry will be to market a bigger crop, but missing the Ramadan demand, which will be in May this year, the month first shipments new crop usually leave Chile.