CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

The markets for dried fruits are rather active at the moment.
Partly because of the new crops of the Northern Hemisphere have passed the vulnerable stage of bloom and the risk of frost; partly because stocks in Europe are tight and demand for short term deliveries are heavy.
Buyers have been careful in covering their needs, due to external factors like the unpredictable tariffs president Trump is imposing on the imports to the US and the ‘revenge’ tariffs, which are disturbing the traditional trade patterns.
The situation In Turkey is still largely depending on the very volatile Turkish Lira, which probably will last till the new elections in Istanbul will be held.
The dollar is slowly getting somewhat stronger against the euro.


Dried Fruits

Apricots
The first indications for the new crop are on the market and as usual rather widespread. Obviously it makes only sense to enter the cheaper offers, if the seller stands for his contract.
Though the crop is developing well, we still have a few months to go till harvesting.
As it looks now we will have a smooth transition into the new crop. Shipments are slightly higher than last season (YTD) and the first estimations of the crop are indicating an average crop, more or less equal to the last two crops (110K).
More than ever the rate of the Turkish Lira will be an important factor, but also an unpredictable element due to its current volatility.

Apples
Chinese sellers are rare to find. Offers are scarce and serious sellers warn quality will be not as good as in the beginning of the season.
With new crop only in Sep/Oct, we may expect a firm market till the end of the year as first arrivals will not reach Europe before November in an empty market.
Spot prices are climbing and we may well advise you to have a look at your needs till the end of the year.

Banana chips
Prices for banana chips continue to increase. The effect of El Niño is expected to continue until summer or even longer.
Most shippers are withdrawn for nearby shipments and offering only from September onwards.
No need to explain spot prices are firming and we may see higher prices till at least the winter period at least.

Currants
Though a little early, Greece is heading for a normal crop. However we speak about September and shipment arriving late October at the earliest.
It simply means we have to cope till that time – under the provision nothing goes wrong with this crop – with the limited quantities around.
With South-Africa adding virtually nothing to the supply, we may expect a firm market to continue till the end of the year.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
Pineapple will be the headache-dossier for the coming months. Shippers do either not offer or for loyal customers do max. 1 ton per FCL to take in combination with other fruits.
Improvement is to be expected only in or after autumn. Already now spot material is close to exhausted.
For papaya the situation is as well complicated, though quantities are somewhat more generous but still limited and full loads are not offered.
For the other fruits situation is normal and fruits available as per request.

Prunes
The market for prunes is gradually firming. Depending on the suppliers some sizes are limited and consequently sellers are increasing prices.
Being rather early in the season, this may well be a sign we may be heading for a firmer market for the rest of the season. Taking into consideration we are at historical low levels,
it is most likely we may go upward in the coming months.

Raisins
South Africa is sold for goldens already as could be expected with an available quantity of 8K against 23K last year. Total crop is nevertheless good with 60K+ with more Thompsons available.
For the first time – as we can remember – opening prices for Thompsons have already lowered after a few months, whereas usually this happened only at the end of the year to get rid of some left-overs.
As South-Africa is relatively a small player in the market, we see the actual levels to be attractive for the buyers, as Californian prices are still higher for Thompsons.
If demand will become serious for the South-African Thompsons, the available quantity will be sold also quickly.
Turkish prices for export remain stable thanks to the weaker Turkish Lira, which compensates for the firmer prices at the local “Boursa”.
Chilean prices remain unchanged except for somewhat firmer prices for jumbo goldens, probably because South Africa is having none.
Iran remains to be out of competition – except for some occasional deals – as most importers are either afraid to deal in this material in view of possible repercussions,
or simply because it is impossible either to pay or not able to ship as shipping lines abstain from shipping Iranian stuff afraid for their interests in the USA.

Nuts

Walnuts
And again shipments from California are up: 17% compared to April ’18 and YTD 11%. Of course Californian shippers are becoming more and more confident they will move this crop again without too much problems.
In spite of slow demand at this moment they are not nervous knowing higher end qualities are almost sold and demand for Christmas still must be bought partly from this crop in order to arrive in time in Europe and other remote destinations.
With bloom passed and reservoirs full of water, the coming crop may be seen from an optimistic view and tempering an exaggerated increase of prices, though we see no downside till the new crop.
Good material from Chile remains relatively high priced, but well available.