CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

Meanwhile the first fragile signs of some improvement of the pandemic have been noticed.
However in view of the numerous lives still at stake, most governments are very prudent to lift the lockdowns.
This will be done very gradually and nobody knows the outcome yet and we can only hope for a swift but safe improvement.
The various restrictions all over the world  have certainly had some influence on our trade as well.
Either because of disruption of logistics and consequently delays, or in a careful attitude amongst most buyers for future procurements.
On the other hand the buying-panic of most consumers in the beginning has led to additional demand on the spot, so for some products the pipeline is empty.
In combination with the delayed shipments it means some premium pricing for products concerned.
Once more we dare say, a reliable contract partner is paying off.
The dollar is slightly gaining some value against the euro in the last month, but this is mostly (more than) offset by the decrease of all kind of currencies from producing countries.
Some examples: the Turkish Lira lost almost 9% against the dollar in the last 30 days and the South African Rand lost 35% since Jan 1st against the dollar.


Dried Fruits

Apples
The bloom in China has started and it looked like the new crop would be good, however a cold wave and hail last week caused damage to a lot of orchards and at this moment quantity damaged is being assessed.

Demand for fresh apples in China is strong, so the dehydrators shall have to compete with buyers from that area to obtain the raw material.
Last shipments of the crop 2019 are about to be shipped and as usual the supply will be down during summer in transit to the first shipments of the new crop in Oct/Nov 2020.
Lack of spot material due to delayed shipments – see above – made available stock is Europe rather limited.
Chile might be an option for shipment June onwards, but prices as usual way higher.

Apricots
The weak Turkish Lira has helped to trade apricots, but the sudden frost last week has caused damage to the apricots blooming in the higher areas around Malatya and market reacted immediately with increased prices.
Of course we cannot predict what will happen further with the Turkish Lira, but for sure the Turkish farmers and exporters will wait for the outcome of the damage and  will sit on their stocks and create a situation with limited supply. In this scenario a firmer market can be expected for the new crop.
On top: some hailstorms in the area where most of the organic material is growing, will for the second year on a row result in limited quantities of organic material.

Banana chips
The situation in the Philippines is still problematic. Vessels are overbooked and shipments rolled over.
In combination with a problematic supply situation new orders take a few months before possibly shipped.
Also demand from Asian markets increasing again, so prices remain firm.
Spot material in Europe is limited and hard to find some volumes.

Currants
Not much to report as usual in this time of the year. The South African crop is more than double the quantity of last year, but demand is slow.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
All eyes are on the next crop of the pineapple, as also this spring crop could not bring much relief on the pineapple situation.
Still shippers limit the quantity of (core) pineapple to a few hundred cases per container. We expect the situation in Europe will not improve much till the end of the year.
For the other dehydrated fruits the situation is improving somewhat, though ginger might remain problematic as well and the new crop in August is expected not to be optimal due to the drought.

Prunes
The story of this year’s Chilean prune crop is the lack of small fruits. Anything smaller than 60/70 is becoming problematic in view of availability.
The total crop is more or less same as last year. With a slightly weaker local currency prices remain rather stable, though smaller size are not anymore relatively cheap.
The Californian crop is heading for a disaster again with a limited crop – some say half – compared to last year’s.

Raisins
The South African prices are much lower than last year. Certainly for Thompson they had to follow the Californian levels and most and for all to move their stocks from 2019.
Next to this the South African Rand is much weaker, so a decline in prices was rather logic. For goldens the jumbo (hardly present) and choice (colour problems) might become less available.
Turkey is heading for a good crop again, now bloom was without problems. With also here a weak currency, prices are rather attractive at the moment.
Problem at the moment is to find workers for the factories, but this may be solved once life is getting back to normal.
In Chile the availability of jumbo raisins is as well a bottleneck. Jumbo goldens are more or less sold and for (genuine) jumbo flames there is also a tight situation.
California has reached the bottom for their prices and trying to lift them again. Buying programs by the government should support this, but if that is strong enough to change the world market prices remains to be seen.


Nuts

Walnuts
The lower prices for Californian walnuts have helped to move some quantities and prices are levelling out now.
However with 5 to 6 months till the new crop, the Californians need an increase of shipments to end with an acceptable carry over.
This is most necessary as also a large 2020 crop is ahead after a good blossom period.
Challenging times for the industry after many years of a bonanza, where lower priced walnuts are needed to move sufficient quantities.
On top however the COVID-19 issues may be an additional negative factor as the USA is hit very hard.
The Chilean crop is successfully in and estimated at around 130.000 mtons, which is more or less same as last season’s.
The average size is somewhat smaller and it is expected the bigger sizes will be sold rather quickly
Prices are a continuation of last year’s level.