CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

Though we do not think Europe will get back to type of lock-downs like earlier, the increasing numbers of COVID cases worry most of us.
For sure further measurements will temper economic activities, which even in the end may also affect our business, which up to now has been hardly hit.
On the contrary: it is still business as usual, with most problems in production and logistics, rather than on the demand side.
We also have to keep an eye on the developments between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea.
In case this develops to a real clash, this may disrupt trade with Turkey if EU backs Greece as may be expected (think of apricots, figs, sultanas).
The Mediterranean crops are being harvested and first contracts have been closed.
The dollar was more or less stable against the euro with minor fluctuations.


Dried Fruits

Apples
In the approach to the Chinese new crop next month, offers are scarce. As for most Chinese crops it is hardly possible to give a more or less accurate prediction.
Most shippers have each year same advice: buy now, then it may get worse.
Fact is on the spot the stocks are getting down and prices in the second hand firming.

Apricots
In spite of the weaker Turkish Lira prices remain firm. The buying by the state owned TMO has laid down a fundament in the pricing.
The crop is down by 20/25% which also has helped to lift the prices. At this moment most sizes are well available.
Where also natural apricots are even somewhat cheaper than the sulphured product, the organic apricots are again hard to get and expensive.

Banana chips
The prices of the green bananas are the highest in 20 years! Also the Philippine Peso became somewhat stronger.
In combination with the problems due to the lock downs, which are slowing down production, the prices remain firm.
For Europe the delayed shipments cannot sufficiently fill the pipeline. New orders are possible for late November shipment (so forget being in your warehouse before Christmas).
We do not foresee an improvement on the short term, now traditional Chinese demand for the Festival in January will put even more pressure on the available supply.
If you need anything till the end of the year, we cannot but recommend to cover this position, where actually the current low dollar makes prices even relatively attractive.

Currants
The first news from the Greek currant crop is about a slightly lower yield of the crop this year by about 10%.
We expect prices to be more or less a continuation on last year’s levels.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
The new crops for pineapple and papaya are about to be harvested in the coming months.
We expect prices in the long run to ease a little, but till the end of the year we foresee full production schedules to keep up the backlog of the last year,
which was marked by huge shortages on pineapple.

Prunes
Though for Europe directly not a major factor anymore, the Californian crop is said to be down considerably this year.
Prices will be firmer, which makes them even more outpriced than in the last years, certainly for the EU-buyers, who have to add 9,6% import duty on top.
Indirectly it will influence also prices from other origins, where Chile is becoming the number one player, at least for Europe.
For sure they know what is happening in California and realize there is no need to give presents anymore.
Prices already firming, also because especially small sized prunes are almost sold and many shippers do not offer anymore.
We think a partial covering till spring 2021 could be a safe strategy.

Raisins
Even the Turkish exporters are openly very doubtful by the “official” crop 2020 figure announced by the Minister of Agriculture from Turkey: 271.000 tons.
Up to now figures of 300/310K ton were circulating by Turkish sources. So we think the figure is mainly political driven, same as the higher minimum price at which TMO will buy 50.000 ton.
Actually even the (more serious) Turkish shippers say: wait and see…….
Chile continues the tradition to start the season pretending to have limited supply at higher prices and to offer many “last” containers at discounted prices in the second part of their season.
Most grades are still available, with the exception of jumbo goldens, which remain firmly priced.
South-Africa has moved quite a bit of their Thompson stocks, where the huge carry out of the 2019 crop was a real burden.
By means of aggressive pricing they have succeeded to move a substantial quantity and are now in a position to raise prices again as unsold stocks seems to be manageable and limited.
Goldens are well available, but also here jumbo sizes tight in supply.
California has lost some ground in Europe as they could not match the SA low prices.
Nevertheless they have sold well to other markets than Europe and meanwhile even started to increase prices somewhat.

 

Nuts 

Walnuts
Today (end of the day in Europe) the estimation of the Californian walnut crop 2020 will be announced. In general it is believed it will be a bumper crop with over 700K tons.
Most shippers were on hold this week offering out. If the quantity will be less, for sure we will see a firmer pricing, as Californian producers claim current price-levels are too low to produce profitable.
Due to the declining prices in the last months – in anticipation of this huge crop coming in – buyers stopped buying.
Consequently stocks are running low in Europe with at least 2 to 3 months to go before arrival of the first new crop parcels.
At the moment buyers looking to book on the first vessels out of the new crop, but capacity of both production and logistics is limited, so it will be a ‘first come, first serve’ to have product in well before the Christmas.
Next week we will see what direction it will go, where we see hardly a downside in view of the current low prices.
Chilean situation unchanged: high end quality material (hand cracked) remains stable at higher levels, with possibilities to bargain on quarters, pieces and darker material (machine cracked).