CATZINFO- DRIED FRUITS
The size and quality of most crops of the Southern Hemisphere are becoming more clear.
In general it is looking good, without expectations of abundant crops. Buyers are mostly still on hold and gathering the market information and price levels.
On the other hand we see low stocks in Europe and an active demand to replenish stocks.
In Asia most countries are making up for the New Year (next week) and already slowing down, whereas the “Muslim” markets are covering for the Ramadan period in May (May 5th – June 4th).
Only the very first shipments from the Southern Hemisphere may reach these markets in time, so also existing stocks from the Northern crop will be allocated.
The dollar softened somewhat against the Euro, whereas the Turkish Lira is rather volatile lately, but seems to gain back some lost value.
If the Turkish Lira is indeed strengthening against the dollar, it will mean certainly a firmer pricing for the Turkish apricots. Anyhow prices were strengthening as the costs to produce apricots (logistic, energy) are higher. Next to this we see a growing discrepancy in pricing for the scarce bigger sizes and the medium to smaller sizes.
The current colder weather conditions are good for the development of the dormant trees, but it still is some time till the bloom will appear (Mar/Apr). We expect towards the end of the season a firmer market certainly for good quality apricots. Of course the situation during bloom period will determine the further development of the market.
The South African crop is again very limited and will be sold swiftly even at high levels, we expect.
The delayed shipments from China are becoming somewhat problematic, as stocks for most apple products are getting down to zero. Of course the arrivals of the new crop from China will bring some relief, but this will be temporarily as the crop is definitely short. It will mean certainly a serious tight situation for a longer period till the new crop 2019 will become available. This however will not before the end of the year.
Shipments of the Philippine bananachips are still somewhat behind schedule. This will not improve with the coming festivals and holidays.
Prices remain stable in origin, but due to a tight stock situation in Europe, prices for spot material are firming as a premium is asked for short term deliveries.
Prices remain on the higher level. The market is rather quiet at the moment.
The hope South Africa may bring some relief on the market dominated by the Greek currants has vanished.
As South Africa will have again only a similar small crop like last year due to some rains in the growing area, for sure the farmers will go for a higher price. No doubt they know also about the higher prices asked for (and achieved) by the Greek exporters.
Also for the pineapple and papaya there are some supply problems. Certainly the papaya is getting scarce as a bigger demand by canning factories.
Therefor some bottlenecks appear in the supply situation in Europe, which may last perhaps till the summer period.
The crop in Chile is looking good. The first indications point at a continuation of last year’s levels, so for time being we do not expect too many surprises.
An element which may cause some firming, is the growing demand from China for fresh plums. However this is mainly for the bigger sizes, so this will not influence much the medium sizes.
For same reasons as with apricots, prices are increasing basically because of the cost-elements. However also shipments are above last year’s so the Turkish industry is pretty confident they can move this crop. On top the competition is either having ‘political’ problems (Iran) or is high priced as well (California/SA).
Californian prices have softened somewhat , but are still on a higher level if we take the 10-years average pricing. Most attention however is going to the new crops from the Southern part of the world.
The Chilean crop is looking well, though jumbo sizes will be less available. Consequently opening prices are somewhat higher compared to last levels of the previous crop.
South Africa is having a similar crop like last year we hear, but it will probably be about 2 weeks later. Goldens will be less available we expect as there will be a smaller premium paid for compared to Thompsons.
Supported by somewhat better shipping figures, the Californian walnut industry became somewhat bullish and managed to lift the prices. Actually we are still at low levels and quality on average is excellent from California.
Also the disruptions caused by the tariff-battles, have been absorbed and more volume will find its way throughout the world.
Certainly a strong demand for the inshell walnuts increased prices up to 20%. As well the prices for shelled material gained considerably value. At the moment prices for the higher end qualities have firmed by about 10% or more.
Chile is in transition to the new crop and has left mainly some pieces and darker material. First speculative offers for some inshells have been spotted and as expected at lower levels than last year. It will take at least another 3 month before the new crop becomes available and shipment are usually not leaving earlier than May from Chile plus at least a month shipment time.to Europe.