CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

Overall tendency is a firmer marker for most of the products in our scope of products we are looking at. There is a mix of elements contributing to this rise in prices.
Main reason in our view is the increased consumption of healthy food, especially in the retail.
In Europe in-home consumption is still strong due to the heavy lock downs in most countries.
We notice a revival in the Asian markets – certainly now New Year holidays are over – where things get back carefully and gradually to ‘normal’ life and demand is picking up.
Next to this – as written before – higher freight tariffs have been contractually passed on to the buyers already for pending contracts and for new deals will be part of the cost price.
Some new crops on the Southern Hemisphere are less than expected and consequently firming prices as well.
Did the Turkish Lira show an increase against the US-dollar since early November by almost 20%, however in the last 2 weeks it lost about 8%, after speculations the Turkish government might not be able to keep the promised high interest rate.


Dried Fruits

Apples
Basically market is same, but the higher freight levels obviously made offers rise. Next to this the delayed shipments cause some short stocks in Europe.

Apricots
Though the rate of the Turkish Lira is weaker, one might also expect some lower export prices for Turkish apricots, we see on the contrary a rather firm market.
The remaining quantity of the smaller 2020 crop is only in a few hands. It means farmers left with some stocks wait to bring this to the local marketplace.
Traders and exporters holding apricots speculate on a further increase and hence selling limited quantities only at increasing prices.
With still 5 months to go till the new crop will be available, we do not expect a weaker market. The only chance for this would be a bumper crop 2021,
however circumstances are rather uncertain being still before the bloom starts. Higher temperatures made the trees show the first buds already, whereas at night temperatures
reached over -10 degrees Celsius. At this moment not yet an issue, but if bloom starts early, the risk of night frost is certainly present. In that case we may see
another substantial increase of prices. If the crop will be good, prices for crop 2020 will remain firm – as simply not enough quantity available – but we may of course see a
more friendly priced offer for the crop 2021 after August.

Banana chips
The COVID-19 measurements are slowly built off in the Philippines. It means demand for fresh bananas on the local market has increased again.
Prices for banana chips have firmed on a FOB-basis somewhat, but due to the exorbitant price for container shipments, finally landed in Europe, is working out on a higher level.
Next to this, shipment bookings are rolled over and over along the verdicts of the shipping lines, leaving goods in the Philippines and not afloat to Europe,
where spot material is still none to zero.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
Same story about the shipments in delay and high freight costs have caused firmer prices for the dehydrated tropical fruits from Thailand.
The smaller summer crop (compared to the usually bigger winter crop) will start end of March and is looking good. However there is still some backlog of orders to catch up.
The papaya crop is finished and we will have to do with what is left till new crop in October. Quantity was not abundant and we expect prices remain at current level.
Ginger is rather problematic at this stage due to heavy demand from China. We certainly will see some shortages till the new crop in August may bring some relief.

Pears/Peaches
On the spot not a single kilo of pears is available. Unfortunately the new crop from South Africa is a disaster as well, so we will be facing a difficult season for pears again.
First shipments will hopefully leave in April – if containers available – and arriving in a complete empty market, first arrivals are fully committed already.
Peaches is somewhat less problematic, but prices are following the levels of the pears, so increasing as well.

Prunes
The heavy rains have caused more problems than expected for the Chilean prune crop.
Shippers are holding back and first wish to see what they will receive in their warehouses and the spread amongst the sizes.
Those offering obviously have firmer ideas than we have seen with the speculative offers early this year.
On top with China almost getting in shape again, demand for fresh prunes for this markets is pushing up the market as well.
We expect some serious pricing in the coming weeks, but be prepared for firmer prices for Chilean prunes.

Raisins
The somewhat weaker Turkish Lira helped to slightly ease prices for the sultanas. After TMO announced their higher sales price February 9th,
we saw some small jump in prices, but in view of the quantity – about 30% bigger crop than 2019 – still to be moved  before the 2021 crop will be harvested, prices have weakened slightly.
The South African crop will be definitely smaller than expected. The first estimations started at 85.000 mtons, but meanwhile official estimations are even below 70.000 mtons.
As it has to do with high moisture levels, especially the goldens are hit. The quantity of ‘choice’ will be less, whereas the total quantity of all goldens will be less as well.
This week first shippers announced to be obliged to increase prices, as they have to pay more to the farmers.
Also in Chile we see firmer prices as rains earlier this year have affected the crop and quantity will be smaller as well. Also here the goldens will be substantially less available
and especially the popular jumbo goldens firmed considerably in price.


Nuts

Walnuts
In spite of the bumper crop in California – meanwhile 783K registered – it seems there are only bullish elements for this market.
Facts are the delayed shipments do slowdown the exports and causing shortages in markets like Europe and the availability of Chandler variety seems to have vanished.
We have noticed a rather respectable increase for the price of shelled Chandler walnuts and the current message is: “if you can find them”.
This increase has pushed as well the prices for other light material meanwhile. Of course there are enough walnuts, but for Europe demand is mainly for light material.
We expect prices for darker material (combo or domestic) will most and for all be placed on the home market, with attractive pricing and supported by buying programs of the US government.
For Europe we expect prices to remain steady to firm till next crop. At the moment there is a lack of rain in California. This may cause some water problems.
Not only as far as availability is concerned, but most and for all as far as the increase of the water price is concerned.
With the current (relatively) low prices, farmers simply will pass on this bill for the next season.
Chili is heading to a crop of 150K, with an increasing share of Chandler variety. Carry out will be minimal.
First signs of pricing are a continuation of last year’s level and indeed we do not expect Chile will need to follow the Californian prices as they have proven they can sell this quantity.
Also the Eastern European prices are at a relatively high level