CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

There is a lot of volatility in most markets.
The disruptions in the logistic chain due to a disbalance of container availability worldwide, causes a shortage of products from Asia and California, with increasing prices for spot material.
But also the exorbitant rise of ocean transport with 400/500% increase of course is translated finally in higher prices for overseas buyers.
On the Southern Hemisphere rains in especially Chile and South Africa seem to reduce the output of the crops, which looked to be good.
Exporters are reluctant to offer and those who offer obviously ask higher prices.
The Turkish Lira is getting stronger against the US-dollar and this meanwhile caused a 10 to 15% higher price level for Turkish products, just because of the exchange rate.
Furthermore the dollar is gaining value against the euro; though slightly, it does not help to get prices down in euros.
European buyers had covered carefully so far and kept minimal stocks, due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and its outcome for the economic situation.
However demand for food remains strong, so with less supply prices continue to rise.


Dried Fruits

Apples
With Asian markets almost back to normal, demand for apples is strong and making the cost price for dried apples higher.
As mentioned above, also the freight rate increases are an element for considerable firmer pricing. We expect not much relief till the new crop in autumn.

Apricots
Not only the currency issue firmed prices of the Turkish apricots, but also the stocks in Turkey are declining. The crop was about 30% less, whereas shipment were down by about 15%.
This makes the farmers and exporters believe, they will easily sell the crop and hence farmers waiting to bring their stocks to the market.
Consequently prices firmed on top of the increase of the rate of the Turkish Lira.
Another element is the support of TMO of the market, which simply announced higher prices to which they would eventually buy. This was enough to strengthen the market even firmer.
Last but not least, temperatures are well above the average at the moment, which enlarges the risk of an early bloom hit by night frost in March.
Bottomline: look at your needs till the summer.

Banana chips
Where the prices of banana chips on a FOB-basis recently came in more quiet waters, the substantial increase of the freight rates lifted the prices on a landed Europe base considerably.
Next to this, production and consequently exports slowed down, because factories are short of workers due to the COVID-measurements and also because buyers slowed down shipments in anticipation of (hopefully) easier freight rates.
On top of ships calling for more ports on their voyage to Europe, arrivals are delayed by 2 to 3 weeks, causing further shortage on the European market.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
Crops of pineapple and papaya are somewhat short, but the main story is also in this case the freight rate slowing down the shipments.
Arrivals in our markets are less than needed to satisfy demand and spot prices remain firm.

Pears/Peaches
Availability of especially the pears from South-Africa is a disaster. Though first offers came out obviously at higher levels, also the quantity per contract is restricted.
We expected South-Africa will be sold in a few weeks’ time, so we strongly advise to cover what is needed as later in the season we may see a similar situation as last season:
hardly any quantity for sale anymore at high prices.
For peaches there is less panic, but nevertheless prices somewhat higher.

Prunes
Heavy rains in the Central Region of Chile caused some damage to the crop about to be harvested. Prices meanwhile firmed and first opening prices were withdrawn.
As also California has a short crop, worldwide supply of prunes will be limited, which undoubtfully will show off in higher price levels.
In the coming days it will become clear what the size of the crop will be.
Another issue is the demand from China for fresh prunes; with the economy likely to go full throttle again, it is expected demand will be heavy, leaving less available for the drying industry.

Raisins
The influence of the stronger Turkish Lira to the export prices does not need to be explained again. With the support of TMO, who announced to become a seller of the stocks they bought before,
the Turkish sultana industry is anxious to see what level this will be. As the aim of the TMO is to support the market, for sure this will not be a bargain price.
Rains in the Northern Cape province of South Africa in the previous month has led to flood risks along the Orange River valley, where the orchard with grapes are situated.
After first optimistic estimations of 80K+ at the end of last month it was already adjusted to 70/75K and if a number of orchards will be hit by the flood, this will need to be adjusted downwards again.
Most and for all this will have impact on the goldens, which quality will be lower and it is likely farmers will go more for other products as (sub-) standard goldens will not bring a premium.
California had a smaller crop (10/20% less) due to the smoke during the drying period preventing the sun to heat the drying process. Prices firmed meanwhile.
The mentioned rains last week in Chile also hit the raisins.
Though in the Northern growing areas no damage occurred, in the Central Region where half of the production comes from, the damage was heavy.
First reports speak about a 25 to 30% damage.
In the South (roughly 1/3th of the growing area) it is even worse with an almost total loss of the crop.
One may have a clue what will happen with the prices for the crop 2021.


Nuts

Walnuts
In California all of a sudden the Chandler variety seems to have disappeared. Prices for this variety increased by 20/25%, if at all you can find an offer.
In combination with the delayed shipments from California, this has caused a strong demand for light Chandler material in the higher halves count.
This is a separate story as California has to move a record crop and prices for darker material (combo or domestic) remain attractively priced.
If the stronger shipments to date maintain for the rest of the season, the Californian industry will gain trust they will be able to move enough quantity to end with a manageable carry out.
The Chilean walnut crop is still on the trees, so it has not been hit by the rains. It is too early to say something about the final crop size, but without further events,
it will be same or even bigger than last year, as the acreage is growing every year.
For sure they will ask a premium for their quality, but question will be how much they can obtain over the lower priced other origins. The market will decide.