CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

Slowly the lockdowns are (partially) lifted or eased and things may come back to the ‘new’ normal, with ‘social distancing’ as the new standard. Let us hope this will be temporarily as well. It is anybody’s guess how the world will come out of this pandemic economically and its influence on consumption patterns. As food in almost all countries has been seen as an essential sector, production was allowed in most countries. Problems however were the lack of workers tied at home due to stringent lock downs earlier and the logistic disruptions, causing delays in shipments. On the demand side actually no major changes in volume, but of course the out-of-home market collapsed, but its consumption was (partly) taken over by the supermarkets. With the opening of bars, restaurants, holiday resorts etc, this may get back as it used to be. Since last Monday (25th May) the US-dollar showed a weaker tendency against the Euro (-2% today 29th May).

 

Dried Fruits

Apples
The offers for dried apples from China are getting less now we are approaching the end of the ‘19/’20 season and heading for the new crop in Aug/Sep 2020. Available quantities must be taken from cold store stocks, being more expensive. Shipments of contracted quantities are back to normal and though stocks in Europe are tight, no supply problems at the moment. For new crop it is too early to say something about the expected quantities.

Apricots
The Turkish apricot market at the moment is typically a Mexican stand-off: from Turkish side the farmers bring limited quantities to the market in Malatya trying to create scarcity and higher prices. Though somewhat premature, due to some frost end of April a few orchards have been hit, but will not significantly have influence on the total crop. This new crop is believed to be less than last year, whereas shipments are more or less same as previous season. Buyers are holding back as not many are taking the risk of long forward positions and summer is not really the season for the consumption of dried apricots. So to draw the market in one line: prices are moving along the rate of the YTL/US$, which lately showed some recovery  by 3 to 4% in favour of the Turkish Lira. Now bloom is over there not much ‘natural’ enemies which may hurt the crop, except for some diseases and lack of seasonal workers due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, as the crop will start in a few weeks’ time already.

Banana chips
The production of banana chips in most factories is way behind schedule. Due to the lockdown in the Philippines, workers have not been able to come to the factories. Also the supply of the raw material – the green bananas – is rather erratic and not contributing to a stable supply situation. Meanwhile the slow shipments have caused a very tight spot market all over Europe. All this means new arrivals hardly touch our warehouse and available quantities cannot but offered out of future arrivals of vessels. We do not see much improvement in the coming months, so covering till (at least) wintertime would be our advice.

Currants
Unchanged market with hardly any activities.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
Pineapple supply is still a headache, though slightly improving. Nevertheless shippers in Thailand still offer restricted quantities at very firm price levels. As the market is empty for the core pineapple, buyers in urgent need are paying at least to get some minimal quantities. For papaya situation is somewhat more relaxed.

Prunes
The news from California it will have most probably only half the crop of last year is not so much breaking news for European buyers but more for the Chilean prune industry. Californian prunes have been too high in price due to an import duty for the EU (9,6%) and basically high priced material compared to Chilean product. For this reason, since many years – apart from some diehard Californian fans – the Chilean product is ruling the European markets. However worldwide a significant decrease of the Californian quantity is obviously good news for the Chilean industry. Apart from the prunes from France, which are mainly sold as unpitted and to a big extend on their domestic market, Chile will be the overall market leader. As such it can be expected the market will get at least a firm undertone and we may well advise you to have a look at your needs for the longer term.

Raisins
The Turkish sultana prices are drifting according to the ups and downs of the rate of the local currency against the green back (see apricots). The new crop is looking well and is expected to cross again the 300K border. South African Thompson raisins are for sale and certainly with some volume some negotiations are possible. Once the South-Africans are well sold, we expect Californian prices will climb immediately. Already now we see a firmer tendency for the Californian product in other markets, only suppressed by the SA bargains. Both in SA and Chile the jumbo size raisins are scarce and remain high priced, especially the goldens.

Nuts

Walnuts
The Chilean crop is said to be around 130K as expected. Though sales were not so abundant as usually, especially due to the hesitance of buyers at the Gulfood in Dubai at that time in February, meanwhile up to 60% is said to be committed. Remarkably prices remained steady for the Chilean product, in spite of the decreasing prices from California. Certainly for the top end products like hand cracked halves, we see no signs of weakness. In California prices took a shot already on the expected bumper crop of 2020, but meanwhile are stabilizing as actually most shippers are comfortably sold – at least they pretend – and see no need to sell at a loss. It remains to be seen how many ‘last’ containers will appear on the market, but we know from the past the Californian are able to market their product rather skillful and a bigger crop does not automatically mean a lower price…. We expect next month to have a better view on the new crop and shipments to date till end of May.