CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

A couple of weeks ago it seemed the COVID pandemic was weakening somewhat, but meanwhile many countries and areas are turning to orange or red.
Not only in Europe, but also in the producing countries. For this reason the supply chain may be possibly disrupted again, when workers cannot reach the factories or logistic problems will get more serious.
In California the fires are making live rather complicated next to the COVID problems and some sources reporting this may affect part of the crops, as sun drying is getting difficult with the smoke hiding the sun.
In this scenario it might be advisable to cover part of your needs with partners who are able to keep buffer stocks, so your supply chain will be safeguarded.
On the demand side it is difficult to assess the consequences of the pandemic. People need food!
However there can be a switch again from out-of-home markets to retail if lock-downs are imposed again.
Also the income of people may decrease, which will make them choose for other type – more basic – products.
We fear we will have to cope with this, both in business and in our daily lives, for at least the remainder of 2020.


Dried Fruits

Apples
In the transition to the new crop from China, we notice a rather tight situation for spot material with increasing prices.
The new crop prices from China seem to be slightly above last year’s levels. First shipment will do a premium.
Due to heavy rains in some areas especially the Qinguan variety suffered from extreme apple dropping, which might have reduced the crop.
However it is difficult – in spite of ‘convincing’ video’s – to assess how local or widespread this has been the case.

Apricots
The Turkish Lira is rather volatile lately, with changes of up to 2% at certain days. Since September first the trend is downwards again with a loss to date of about 6% against the US-dollar.
The purchasing program of the governmental TMO has pushed prices up and exporters had to pay more to the farmers in order to get material to process.
Prices remain well above the crop 2019 levels. Farmers – with the support of the TMO threshold – feel pretty confident they can cash whenever needed and are not forced to sell lower to the commercial parties.

Banana chips
Prices have firmed considerably. The prices of the green bananas are the highest in 20 years!
The situation in the Philippines is rather dramatic due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
A part of the workers cannot come to the factories and in combination and on top the logistic system is disrupted.
Not only domestically, but also the sea-going vessels suffer from irregular schedules.
As a result some shippers even abstain from offering, where other do but some only for shipments March ’21 onwards!
An odd container is offered for a somewhat swifter sailing, but of course against a ‘luxury’ price.

Currants
Now drying has started it is rather sure the crop will be 20% down on last year’s quantity. The quality seems to be very good, due to high temperatures.
Prices at the moment stable in anticipation of the demand for the Christmas period.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
End of the month it will be more clear how big the pineapple crop will be. First report speak about a bigger crop.
However the backlog in the supply chain is rather substantial, so we may see some relief not before Q1-2021.
The other fruits – except ginger which has increased tremendously-  are pretty stable at the moment.

Prunes
Chile is really sold with small fruits. Anything smaller than 50/60 is hard to get if at all available, depending on the shipper.
With still half a year to go till the new crop from Chile will be shipped (plus at least a month sailing time) we foresee a serious shortage in Europe till the first arrivals in Q2-2021.
It is too early to say anything about the new crop, but with a likely very low carryout, first shipment may be in demand..

Raisins
The Turkish sultana crop is almost in. Indeed the estimation of 271K by the Ministry of Agriculture seems not to be too far off the reality, as due to lower brix of the fruits, the yield is less than expected.
It will mean about 10% less than the crop 2019. In spite of the purchasing program of TMO, export prices are rather attractive due to the weak Turkish currency.
The Turkish industry is confident they may move this crop at these levels, as lower prices cause more demand is the simple economic law.
South-Africa has been able with the help of very attractive prices for Thompsons, to sell the excessive quantity of this variety. Remember at the beginning of the season contract were made with the clause: crop 2019/2020 in seller’s option, as the carry out of the crop ’19 was substantial. At the moment some goldens are left and some ‘special’ varieties.
Chile is the old story, with some ‘last’ containers of most varieties, which they want to sell before the new harvest.
California is heading for a serious smaller crop. Part of the cause is the smoke preventing the sun to shine on the drying fields.
Firmer prices may be expected and certainly now SA is sold as well, this seems to be a reasonable scenario.

 

Nuts

Walnuts
Everybody has meanwhile digested the 780K figure for the Californian crop. Actually the prices anticipated already on a bumper crop since early summer.
For sure the number was more than expected and we saw some shippers discounting on the actual levels.
However the spot the market is pretty empty as a result of the wait-and-see attitude of the buyers, noticing the continuously decreasing prices.
Now realizing to wait was a good decision as replacement is cheaper, however with an empty warehouse it does not pay off.
So demand for the first shipments is actually strong, even more triggered by low prices we haven’t seen for a long time.
As a result Californian prices have recovered somewhat and it seems a bottom has been put in the market.
And we should not forget the way the Californians know how to move bumper crops as we have seen in the past! Not with lower prices…..
Chile is sold for about 70% and mainly the lower grades are still available. High end qualities remain high priced and did not follow the Californian prices.