CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

Mixed news from all over the world with regard to the pandemic.
In certain areas the numbers are worsening dramatically (a.o. USA and Brazil), whereas in most of the European countries the lockdowns are eased.
Consumption of food was not hit that seriously and problems mainly occurred because logistics were blocked or lack of workers due to lockdowns.
This resulted in delayed shipments for some products from for example the Philippines and Chile, with shortages on the spot.
In most markets we see a somewhat ‘wait-and-see’ attitude.
The new crops are (or about to be) harvested so buyers can wait till the product is available to be shipped.
Certainly where the crops are looking good (raisins, walnuts) there is no pressure from the buyers as they see nervous sellers on the other side.
However the moment will be there, stocks will be low and replenishment should take place, as waiting for lower prices without stocks is also not an option.

 

Dried Fruits

Apples
The market is rather dull at the moment. Shipments from China stopped as only the more expensive raw material from the cold stores could be used.
So markets are waiting for the product from ‘fresh’ material out of the new crop, which can be shipped from Sep/Oct onwards.
The size of the crop is not yet known and also indications are hard to give, as the Chinese are not known for their transparency.
Meanwhile stocks in Europe are getting tight and we may see some bottlenecks till the arrival of the crop 2020 end of this year.

Apricots
The weak Turkish Lira remains weak but somewhat more stable. The new crop is harvested as we speak and drying has started.
Common predictions are around 90 to 100K as new crop and close to 10K tons as carry out of the crop 2019.
This will be somewhat less than last year’s figures and equals the total consumption of the crop 2019.
May shipments were disappointing due to Covid-19 and religious holidays, so if this continues the sellers might get a bit nervous.
On the other hand export qualities (non-industrial) are getting low, which give confidence to the sellers for time being.
Also prices paid by the fresh industry are higher than previously and last but not least,
the government, by means of the TMO, might be buying up to 10K tons to stimulate and support the farmers.
For organic we will have another difficult year ahead, as quantities will be low again due to several diseases.
Prices are gradually firming and looking at your first needs might be recommended.

Banana chips
Though industries in the Philippines have started slowly now workers are coming back after the lockdowns – of which still many exist in the Philippines – the backlog in production by far has not been solved.
Shipments therefor are still way behind schedule, causing an empty market in Europe with premium pricing for spot material.
Also containers are shipped with less than the usual number of cartons.
Prices in origin still stable to firm as domestic consumption of bananas is strong, being a cheap and nutritious product for those people without income due to the circumstances caused by the lockdowns.

Currants
The Greek new crop is expected to be around 22/23K tons, compared to last season’s 25K. Carry out will be minimal, so in theory we may expect a slight firming of prices based on these figures.
However with the lower prices for Thompson raisins, some replacement may occur, so demand for currant may drop somewhat.
As the peak of consumption is at the end of the year, it is simply too early to make an educated guess at the moment about the direction prices will go.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
The situation in Thailand has not yet improved for the pineapple.
Though first offers for ‘core’ pineapple are available at premium prices, shipments are still limited.
We do expect some improvement in autumn.
Also prices for papaya are still relatively high.
Other products are stable at the moment.

Prunes
The crop in Chile is definitely less, with small fruits almost gone already. Crop has been estimated at 60/65K with almost no carry out.
First shipments meanwhile arrive in Europe. Prices are stable but we advise to look for your needs for a longer period.

Raisins
The new crop in South-Africa is a new record (83K vs 75K last year) with more goldens (40% share) and less Thompsons (32%) compared to the previous season.
From the latter variety there was still a huge carryover from the 2019 crop, which made prices for Thompson drop tremendously and are very attractive at the moment.
Certainly now we notice price in California are firming somewhat, i.e. by a buying program for schools by the government, it may be worthwhile to think about some covering.
Turkish prices remain as well attractive.
Not only because of the weak Lira against the dollar, but also because expectation of the new crop could be exceeding last year’s crop of about 270K tons.
The prices for Chilean jumbo flames are somewhat mixed. Reason being the genuine flames will be cultivated less in favour of ‘flame-like’ varieties, as their yield is better for the farmers.
These are however usually less consistent in quality and less sweet and the skin is more tough, however also somewhat cheaper.
Jumbo goldens are getting scarce from all origins.


Nuts

Walnuts
If there is one market which is typically ‘wait-and-see’, it is the Californian walnut market. The slower shipments in combination with an expected bumper crop around the corner made prices soften.
Most buyers now first prefer to move their higher priced stocks, before buying. Also there is no interest yet for the speculative new crop offers, which are significantly lower than last year’s opening prices.
The trap for the buyers might be, we still have 4 to 5 months to go till the new crop lands in Europe. With nobody buying there could be a serious lack of walnuts in Sep/Oct!
Prices from Chile remain stable, certainly for the higher end qualities, which are meanwhile well sold in Chile.