CatZinfo – dried fruits & nuts

Of course we cannot ignore the Corona pandemic, but we will limit this to some consequences for our trade, as all other issues related to this outbreak can be found 24/7 on all (social) media.

Though most of us working at home or rotating between home and office, business is more or less as usual.
Even in countries with a full “lock down”, the food sector is seen as an important element, so supply and consumption continue more or less as usual.
Of course there is a shift from the out-of-home markets to the in-home markets. We also see even an increasing demand for our products, having typically a longer shelf life.
Not only as a single product, but also as an ingredient in for example mueslis and bakery products.
On the other hand we see shipments slow down, because of the disruption in the rotation worldwide of container equipment. Simply said: less containers available to ship and vessels blocked in some ports.
This will certainly – for some products – result in low stocks in Europe in the coming months.
We expect this to be temporarily as on average there is no shortage in most of our products themselves; it is just a matter of logistics as nobody has foreseen this scenario 2 months ago.
In the meantime we see prices for short term deliveries firming for a couple of products as reported below.
The currencies are rather volatile at the moment: last week the dollar increased against the euro, but lost some ground again in the last days.
Also the Turkish Lira lost quite a bit against the dollar and its value declined by around 5% since the beginning of this month.

 

Dried Fruits


Apples

As one of the first countries China carefully re-started again an production is slowly increased to full capacity.
There has been a hick-up in the production and shipments of apples from China as well. It means shippers had to use cold stores, making the product more costly.
Also stocks in Europe are down and it remains to be seen if new shipments will be enough to make it up, as we are already close to the summer period, in which usually the quantities still to be shipped are getting down.
Chile is about to harvest their apples, but pricewise there will be a big gap in pricing with the Chinese products, as Chilean industries require a premium for their high quality product.

Apricots

The trade in apricots came almost to a standstill. Demand is rather slow and Turkish sellers are on hold offering waiting for the development of the blossom-period which is ‘on’ now.
Also the local market in Malatya (Sire Bazaar) more or less closed because of the lockdown measurements.
If no night frost will occur in the coming weeks, we may head for a normal crop and with the current low value of the Turkish Lira apricots may be attractively priced for the coming season.


Banana chips

The market for banana chips firmed rather drastically. There are a number of reasons:
– supply of green bananas is down a.o. due to the heavy typhoon season
– factories having an enormous backlog in production and accepting only shipments in about 3 to 4 months
– an almost complete “lock down” in the Philippines making it difficult for the workers to come to the plants
– the Chinese market re-opened and is trying to fill the pipeline again
– stock in Europe are down to zero
Hence we do not see much improvement at least till end of this summer before we will be back on track on the supply side. Prices for banana chips will remain firm for time being and availability will become an issue.


Cranberries

Market unchanged with difficult supply situation. Prices definitely have left the low levels.


Currants

A quiet market with prices stable at lower levels since the beginning of the season. As usual demand rather slow in this period.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango

The current supply is still unchanged with no improvements, though we are entering now into the peak season.
The drought has been quite severe this year and still is. Summer has already started, being hot with humid conditions and most expect summer crop should last up till end April/early May.
Due to COVID-19, farmers temporarily tend to do the early harvest which has caused slighter higher supply but with more unripe fruits.

For this reason we expect that the supply soon will be over and the annual shutdown for canneries would be longer during this 3rd quarter.
Papaya is somewhat more available, but also harvested earlier than usual for same reason.

The harvest of mango will be next month and looking more or less normal.

The ginger crop (Aug/Sep) is expected to be smaller due to the drought.

Prunes

This year’s crop in Chile is of a very good quality, with well-developed fruits, but also resulting in relatively more large sizes.
As a consequence some shippers in Chile stopped already offering small sized prunes, like 70/80 up.
Prices firming gradually as more and more shippers report the crop will be definitely down as expected caused by the drought earlier.
First shipment will probably leave in April.

Raisins

The South African crop is looking to be larger than last seasons. Rains during drying in some areas has caused some colour problems on goldens, so choice goldens might be somewhat less available as thought.
Prices were launched already some weeks ago and look to be sustainable as sales are steady. Though South-Africa is in “lock down” as well, the food processors are regarded as
California is struggling with the selling of Thompsons. Various attempts to move the prices were in vain, certainly now as South Africa is a serious competitor with a substantial quantity of Thompsons for sale at attractive prices.
Turkey is trying to sell the big crop 2019. Shipments are however slightly below last season quantity to date (148K vs 161K tons). The weak Lira makes prices interesting.
The Izmir Boursa is more or less closed due to the measurements to contain the pandemic, which is getting serious in Turkey as well.
Iran is out of the picture. Apart from a serious outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, resulting in closed borders, also the continuous and increasing embargos have led to a minimal export of agricultural products.
In Chile there is a lack of jumbo raisins. Prices firmed and most shippers first wish to see what they get in. Especially golden jumbo will be scarce.
Also the flame variety is getting rare. More and more farmers have chosen to plant other varieties. This has resulted in a two tire market for jumbo flames: genuine flames and flame ’type’.

 

Nuts

 

Walnuts

The prices of Californian walnuts came down considerably due to somewhat slower shipments and some shippers getting nervous.
Certainly those shippers not having cold stores preferred to sell out.
Meanwhile it seems the market is stabilizing as the lower prices resulted in buyers picking up some quantities at attractive prices.
Chile is firm on the top grades like hand cracked extra light material. First shipment will be on the water in end of April/May.

 

BRC

Last Thursday and Friday we as Catz International have undergone our BRC re-audit. For the first time ever, also for the auditor of SGS, this audit was done fully online via skype, which has given a new dimension in audits for us. We are glad to inform with only one minor we passed the audit and our BRC broker AA grade will be renewed after final control of the BRC organization.