CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

Business is definitely in an active mood. Buyers trying to fill the last gaps in their procurement before the Christmas-period.
At this time they are limited to spot or afloat positions, as ordering now in origin is too late already in view of the transit time.
On top there are quite a number of products which are short both on the spot as well as in origin, with producers fully booked and for some products first shipments expected not earlier than Jan/Feb 2020.
As a result spot trading is the most important activity at this moment with prices firm for local available product.
Also we have an eye on the situation in Chile; in the last decades a rather ‘quiet’ country, but lately suffering from strikes and riots.
This also had its effect on the exports, as shipments were delayed by all kind of manifestations both by public as private stakeholders in the logistic chain.
The euro and dollar remain in balance at the current level with only small corrections from time to time.

Dried Fruits

Apricots
Still not much activity in the trading of Turkish apricots. Prices are somewhat easier and shippers willing to listen in case of proposals.
The crop was good both in quality and quantity, except for naturals and organic,  but has to be moved before the next crop comes in.
At this pace the Turkish apricot industry is not yet in panic, but feels the urgency to move some quantities.
Obviously some frost during bloom, may work out to a firmer market.
For time being we think buying hand-to-mouth is a safe strategy.

Apples
The first shipments of Chinese apples – with some delays – are on the water and will arrive in an almost empty market.
First arrivals are committed already, so the tight situation for Chinese product will remain. Still being the cheapest alternative, demand remains heavy, as other origins are substantial higher in pricing.

Banana chips
The Philippine banana chips continues to be in a difficult situation.
Domestic consumption of (fresh) bananas is not only limiting the supply for the production of the banana chips but also firming prices.
Did we see a somewhat easier market at the end of the summer, meanwhile we see prices continuously increasing and shipments in delay.
At the moment without exception, shippers do not accept orders earlier than January or even February.
Add to this at least one month of shipment to Europe and the current low stock situation has been explained.
With a usual higher consumption in the last months of the year in Europe and the upcoming festivals in Asia with similar increase of the use of banana chips, we see no relief before the summer of 2020 (if at all).
For sure prices will remain firm with an additional premium for spot material.

Cranberries
The new crop of the cranberries in Northern America is disappointing in view of the yields: less 15%. This immediately has resulted in higher prices, fueled as well by a severe shortage of (especially sliced) material in stock in Europe, with also for this item new arrivals only after the Christmas.

Currants
Unchanged market with first shipments of the crop 2019 on the water. The crop being better than last year’s resulted in somewhat lower prices compared to previous levels.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
The problems for the Thai dehydrated core pineapple remains. It was expected the supply would improve as the canning industry would start production.
However the canning factories started at a slow pace as a result of disappointing export figures of the canned product.
The popular core diced products is made of the ‘waste’ (the core) of the pineapple used by the canning industry. However as production is low, supply for the dehydration facilities is low as well.
This low intake results in further delays of production and shipment. This situation follows after a period of low supply in the previous season, so it does only multiply the problems related to the low stocks in the export markets.
The first shipments out of the new crop therefor will only arrive during December and will be mostly sold already. New orders are taken only for shipment February ’20 onwards.
Also here we do not expect much improvement till the next spring crop.
Supply of (natural red) papaya is lower than expected and facing similar problems like the pineapple.
Both products show a firm price tendency for time being.

Prunes
Though stocks of the crop 2019 are lower than in previous years, demand is also somewhat slow, resulting in a flat market.
This may firm somewhat for spot material, due to the delays in shipments caused by the situation in Chile as described above.
Meanwhile first thought about the new crop ’20 are already ventilated: due to the continuous drought in Chile the yield of the prune crop may be in danger and certainly a bigger crop is not expected.
We expect certainly a firmer market and we advise to take position till spring next year and keep an eye on the developments of the new crop, which will be available in April/May.


Raisins
Time flies: we are looking already to the new crop on the Southern Hemisphere.
The danger of frost has gone and first predictions are of a new record crop, if all goes well!.
For South Africa the question will be, what will be the decision of farmers to make.
Sales of all varieties except for the Thompson went well so will they opt for more goldens, flames or sultanas and less Thompson?
Farmers may be inclined to do so in view of the current prices for goldens.
Though everybody knows: in that case there will be an oversupply and prices of f.e. goldens will drop.
Prices for Thompsons have dropped considerably since the opening prices and each load shipped at today’s level is costing a lot of money for the shippers as they have contracted at the early and higher prices with the farmers.
Meanwhile goldens are completely sold except for an odd container.
California is claiming somewhat better sales and trying to make better prices, however we see exporters prepared still to offer a promotional price if multiple loads can be discussed.
Turkey is trying to lift prices as well, by increasing domestic prices to a minimum level of TL 10,– kilo for raw material.
We may see an worldwide price increase for both Thompsons and sultanas early 2020, when supply of Thompsons in the Southern Hemisphere will be less for reasons as explained and also because buyers have waited and need one day or the other cover for the rest of the season.


Nuts

Walnuts
The prices for Californian walnuts continue to rise after the lower and actual crop figures. Especially the inshell walnuts became more expensive.
Also the higher end quality shelled walnuts remain firm in pricing.
With shipments taking place later (every year it seems) with arrival in December, there is a bottleneck of availability for spot material at the moment.
Also the Eastern European prices have increased in price. F.e. Ukraine reports a 20% smaller crop, which clearly resulted in firmer prices from this region as well.
Chile is selling out last loads and certainly on the spot it is noticed availability of inshell and extra light and light shelled material is getting scarce.