CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS

Good news from the USA-Chinese battle on tariffs. It seems some results have been achieved and new and higher tariffs have been delayed for a while.
Hopefully an agreement will be found, so trade will not be caught by sudden political decisions again.
The other issue: Brexit, is approaching the final date at the end of March and still no solution has been found. A ‘hard’ Brexit will certainly result in some problems for the traders involved.
As expected the first prices for the Chilean crops have been negotiated at the Gulfood in Dubai and will be discussed below.
Also some developments from the delayed crop in South-Africa, where the first prices have been announced.


Dried Fruits

Apricots
The Turkish apricot is in the traditional doldrums before the bloom will start. Shipments are at par with the remaining stocks and carry out is expected to be manageable.
The weather is perfect with colder nights, which will minimize the risks of an early bloom and so the chance of night frost jeopardizing the early stages of the fruits will be lower.
Obviously other natural hazards may occur till we reach harvest time in July, but this may be a little later if bloom is later as well of course.
The rate of the Turkish Lira may play a role as well and perhaps the new Turkish local elections on March 31 may be a trigger.

Apples
Now the stocks are getting scarce in China, we see prices still getting firmer.
Due to the late and limited shipments from China demand in Europe is bigger than the supplies and resulting in an ongoing increase of prices.
Other origins like Chile and Italy are however still overpriced compared to China, so demand will remain substantial for this origin.

Banana chips
Raw material for the banana chips is getting more scarce by the day. Shipments are later and processors  – if at all offering – do take a longer buffer for the first possible shipments and of course at higher prices.
On the spot it is difficult to find any material, as the few available loads arriving are sold before touching even an European port.

Cranberries
No changes to report, with stable market prices.

Currants
The Greek prices remained stable in the last weeks and did not react on the news from South-Africa after another bad crop with only 2000 mtons and mainly small – but good –  fruits.
Though buyers did not react very enthousiastic on the African prices, we suppose also this year this limited quantity will be sold easily.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
The papaya and pineapple shipments are still in delay. Certainly the papaya is less than expected and prices firmed.
Ginger is getting difficult to obtain as the season is over and will only be available later this year.
Other tropical products from Thailand remained stable

Prunes
The export of Chilean fresh prunes to China is somewhat more successful  than expected, so limits somewhat the availability of fruits for the dried variety.
As these are mainly the bigger sizes, these will be obviously less available for the dried prunes and may be sold early in the season already.
Overall quantity will be same as last year so we do expect no major changes in pricing, except for the bigger sizes.

Raisins
Focus is on the raisins from the Southern Hemisphere. The crop in South Africa is in and drying for time being. Weather conditions are fine at the moment and though some limited rains occurred, these did not harm the crop. The crop is about 5% less than last season, but 10 to 14 days later, so first shipment can only leave mid-March.
A major element this year will be a substantial decrease in the quantity of the golden raisins, as farmers make a good price on the natural Thompson,
so there was less interest to produce the more labour intensive and risky goldens.
The Chilean crop is also looking good, but more interest from the table grape sector. Also jumbo flames will be less available and prices are up.
From California we see more or less same levels as before, as apparently they were waiting for the South-African approach of the market.
Turkish sultanas are as well stable with limited demand for time being.


Nuts

Walnuts
Though prices are not increasing that fast at the moment, certainly there is a firm market. Especially higher end quality shelled Chandler variety is getting scarce.
Also the inshells encounter good interest from the Middle East and some shippers already closed.
From Chile also signs are on ‘green’ for another record crop, as more and more new planted orchard are coming into production. Problem is the percentage ‘machine cracked’ walnuts will increase as the market for ‘hand cracked’ walnuts cannot absorb this quantity. This means Chile shall have to compete with the Californian walnuts. Obviously we will see in today’s market a wider spread in prices between the machine- and hand cracked walnuts from Chile.