CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

The period of ‘last minute’ coverings has begun.
The trading of spot positions has priority these days and might be frustrating for some of our products (examples: banana chips and pineapple) as these simply are not available anymore and new shipments coming in rather late.
Very carefully we are going to have a look at the Southern Hemisphere, where in a couple of weeks the first crops will be harvested.
So far South-Africa is looking good, however in Chile a long-lasting drought may cause some disappointing yields for fruits and nuts.
Also the tensions in South-America at this moment may escalate and have an impact on the availability of products and in the logistic chain.
News from the tariff negotiations between USA and China are hopeful and if successful may change somewhat the current playing field, when China will become an important buyer again for Californian products. However with Mr. Trump’s unpredictable nature, you never know.
We suppose Californian farmers will celebrate a small party if an agreement will be reached…..
The dollar euro vs the dollar is rather stable around 1,10, though very slowly the dollar is getting somewhat stronger.


Dried Fruits

Apricots
The market for Turkish apricots remains rather dull. Certainly in Europe demand is very slow and Turkish shippers do not understand what is happening.
Prices are stable. For all sizes there are still possibilities.
It is too early to say something about the new crop.

Apples
The first shipments of Chinese apples have arrived in a rather empty market and as such found a home immediately if not allocated already before.
New governmental environmental measurements have slowed down production and shipments are in delay again.
Prices are somewhat easier than last season’s, but if there are no apples, this is mere theory.

Banana chips
No improvement for the Philippine banana chips. The fresh fruit traders are buying all they can for the domestic consumption.
This is not only firming prices for the green bananas, but also resulting in less availability of raw material for the factories.
Consequently shipments are down and for time being there is not much hope for a better supply situation.
New orders are taken only for the later shipment periods and this being the case already for several months, the stocks in Europe are drying out.
We foresee no improvement at least till summer 2020.

Coconut
Prices for coconut started to move upward.
The earthquakes in the Philippines and Indonesia in combination with some drought as a result of El Niño in this area has declined the yield of the coconuts.
As a result the prices firmed and with the typhoon season still expected to last for another 1,5 month, the uncertainty remains.
Also the prices for coconut oil have increased and we cannot but speak about a firm tendency for time being.

Cranberries
Definitely there is a turn in the cranberry market. A disappointing crop (less 15%) in the northern hemisphere has resulted in firmer prices.
Also stocks are meanwhile low in Europe and the biggest player has announced to be withdrawn with the SDC’s for time being.

Currants
Actually not much to report. First shipments have arrived meanwhile and prices stable and somewhat more favorable than last year.
Currants seem to be not that popular at this stage, since last year’s high prices as some have switched to other fruits like raisins.
However for special purposes (very small currants) we see still a growing interest by some industries, however this small size is always somewhat more scarce.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
Also here a continuous story about the non-availability of especially the core pineapple.
The canneries are running very slow and for this reason the supply of the core of the pineapple for the dehydrated product is very slow.
All shippers are for time being withdrawn with offers for the core product.
On top shipments are delayed as well, so spot positions are down to zero and if at all premiums are asked for it.
Following the problems with pineapple also the natural papaya has firmed because of these market circumstances next to a somewhat smaller crop.

Prunes
The crop in California is somewhat later and smaller than expected.
Same applies for the Chilean crop to come as due to the drought, it might well be the original estimation after bloom will be replaced by a lower figure as total output of the crop.
Currently the Chilean exporters are selling out their last loads to have an empty warehouse before the end of the year and start with a clean sheet in Apr/May 2020 with the new crop.
Prices are stable to firm in anticipation of the new crop, which will not be available till May 2020 – so still 6 months to go!

Raisins
The crop in South Africa is developing well in spite of some frost end October. This may hit some farmers quit serious, but the overall crop will most probably close to 80K tons.
At the moment it is nice and sunny weather, but of course this must continue when the drying starts.
The choice of the farmers to go for Thompsons or goldens will be crucial in the pricing of both products.
Chile is a little doubtful due to the drought which may have harmed the developments of the fruits, so these might be a bit smaller in size.
For both origins it is too early to speak about prices.
Californian shippers try to lift prices for natural Thompsons somewhat, but so far in vain.
A status quo situation in Turkey: shipments are going well at current and attractive price levels, so most shippers feel comfortable despite slow demand at the moment.
However buyers are covered for the coming period and have seen some decline after first (higher) opening prices and hence took a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude.


Nuts

Walnuts
In spite of a smaller crop shipment are somewhat up, so the Californian industry is strengthened in their believe prices may go up even further.
Competition from Chile will start only in May/June next year, but the hot and dry weather will not result in a record crop, so prices for Chilean walnuts will most probably be in the ‘higher league’ again.
Also the delay of the crop in Eastern Europe by a couple of weeks is not a bearish factor at the moment.