CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS AND WALNUTS

After the seasonal holidays activities picked up rather swiftly, as well did some markets wake up after a few weeks of sideward movements.
At the moment we have an eye on the crops on the Southern Hemisphere, where harvest of the first fruits has started.

From the geopolitical scene we have to see whether the recently signed agreement between China and the USA will have effect on our trade.
As it is only a part of the future total deal – still to be negotiated – we do not expect much changes on our playing field.
The unstable situation in the Middle East is a matter of concern.
Most an for all from the point of humanity, but also to see how one of the major players in our trade, Turkey, will act.
If they will get involved in the war in Libya, this may become a rather complicated issue.

Another point of attention might be the discussions about the CO²-emissions in Europe.
We do undoubtfully foresee more attention for the sustainability issues in our trade.

Currencies remained rather stable: the US-Dollar against the Euro and Turkish Lira hardly changed.
Also other – for us –  relevant currencies like the SA Rand, Thailand Baht and Philippine Peso did not make any substantial moves.


Dried Fruits

Apples
The supply of Chinese dried apples is getting back to normal, though some specific products are still scarce on the spot.
Also the new arrivals found a home immediately, as the market was completely empty.
We expect in a couple of weeks a somewhat more relaxed situation, with prices easing somewhat. For the moment however spot prices are still at higher levels.

Apricots
The apricot market has been rather quiet in the last months of 2019.
Demand is very slow in spite of a weaker Turkish Lira, which has made prices actually rather attractive for the European buyers.
The Turkish industry is now claiming somewhat more activity since the beginning of this year, as they see buyers replenish their stocks after holding back for a longer time.
Interesting is to see how the new crop will develop: the coming days some frost has been announced, which is good for the trees, to keep them dormant and delay the development of the blossom.
If the weather will be again mild – like recently – the development of the trees will start too early and risk of frost increases in this early stage and may be devastating.
At the moment farmers tending to hold their last stocks, hoping for higher prices.
We may well advise you to keep a close eye on the developments and take some cover, which at current levels cannot be bad at all.

Banana chips
The situation in the Philippines has to be called rather disastrous. The earthquakes and typhoons have destroyed a greater part of the infrastructure on the islands.
Shippers are calling in a ‘force majeure’ situation to explain the delays in shipment. As supply is interrupted, the situation in Europe is getting rather tight.
Shipments will be postponed by 2 to 3 months as it looks right now, so this tight situation will continue for a longer time obviously.
Spot material is hardly available anymore and prices for short term deliveries have risen.
Of course also the levels in origin have firmed quite a bit and we expect a firm market at least till the summer period.

Currants
Prices for the Greek currants are stable. At the lower levels – compared to last season – they have sold somewhat more quantities.
So the Greek suppliers are not (yet) in need to force sales at discounted prices.
The crop in South Africa is on its way and will be better than last year’s disaster crop, though remains relatively small with only a few thousand tons compared to the Greek quantity.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
The supply of core pineapple in Thailand is a disaster. Canneries who supply the ‘core’ are running at a very low pace.
Factories do not offer core pineapple at all, except for their loyal customers perhaps max. 50 to 100 cases per FCL.
This situation is also affecting the existing contracts the shippers made. They simply cannot find enough material to ship their obligations and either propose to switch to other products – usually in vain – or delay shipments.
As the new crop will be in spring, it will simply mean that non-shipped contracts for December and January will be postponed till somewhere April/May. No need to explain what will happen on the European spot market.
Prices meanwhile have jumped both in origin – for a few limited quantities – and of course on the spot market in Europe.
Also papaya is somewhat scarce and firming, but still available.

Prunes
The first indications for the new crop prices from Chile are pointing for higher prices than last season.
The drought in the winter has caused some damage leading to smaller fruits on average and most packers abstain yet from offering as the crop may come with a lower quantity.
They first wish to see what comes available before offering, as some reports are really pessimistic.

Raisins
Turkish prices are moving according to the currency fluctuations.
The announcement of TMO to stop buying sultanas from the farmers at a minimum price since Dec 31st may bring somewhat more sultanas on the market.
However contrary Taris announced to continue to buy another 5000 tons at higher levels.
Prices for Iranian sultanas are a few hundred dollars below the Turkish levels, but the sanctions against Iran are making the trade of this origin rather complicated and Iran is becoming a low profile origin at the moment for the ‘Western’ buyers.
For Chile and South Africa we are looking at the new crops.
In Chile there is fear the heavy drought period last year (no snow was registered in the winter time) will shrink not only the size of the fruits, but also the total available quantity.
Anyhow the Jumbo size will be scarcer and certainly the Jumbo Flame and Thompson will be less available as farmers are pulling these varieties in favour of new varieties.
South Africa has started the harvesting of the grapes under favourable (hot and dry) weather conditions and heading for a good crop.
The question will be, which quantity framers will produce as golden or natural Thompson.
It is expected in view of the collapsed prices for the natural Thompson, the goldens will be in favour.
Californian prices for Thompsons unchanged in spite of various marketing efforts, which cannot deny the lower levels from SA.

 

Nuts

Walnuts
Californian shipments were slightly down, which actually is a logical result of higher prices and a crop to be definitely smaller than last season’s.
Demand was anyhow slow, as most buyers bought at lower pre-season levels and selling out before entering at the higher levels.
This is also the expectation of the Californian industry, which expect even a further firming of the market, once covering will take place for the second part of the season.
Being well financed, Californian sellers not likely to get nervous….
For Chilean new crop estimations it is too early.
The carry-out for higher end material is none-to-zero and the higher prices from California will encourage the exporters to start at higher levels.
We expect first indications to be announced traditionally around the Gulfair in Dubai (16-20 Feb).
Alternatively the Eastern European supply came on the market and filling the gap below the Californian qualities, sometime at attractive prices for a good product as well.