CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

With an increasing number of people vaccinated there is hope this summer we may go back gradually to a ‘normal’ life.
We are anxious to see whether the foodservice may regain its lost turnover and weather the retail can hold on to its increased volume, or was it sparking only by COVID-19?
Also from a logistic point of view we like to see when the disbalance of container equipment will be back to ‘normal’ and freight rates will be back to old levels and shipment schedules ‘do what they promise’.
If we have to believe the logistic experts this may take at least till autumn.
As for the markets: the crops on the Southern Hemisphere have ended with a rather different yield depending on the type of fruit or nut.
The Chilean prune crop is a disaster, whereas in the same country the walnut crop has a good quality and only slightly less volume as expected.
The South African crops in general are somewhat disappointing, with a absolute low yield for the pears.
The Turkish Lira is an absolute wild guess nowadays: one year ago it started to weaken and from a rate of roughly 6,70 for a dollar in May ‘20 it went to 8,50 a dollar in November ’20.
After recovering back to 7,– for the US$/YTL it is now back to 8,30 at this moment.
The Euro gained some power against the dollar lately and passed the 1,20, which is almost 3% stronger than early April (and helpful for European imports of course).

 

Dried Fruits

Apples
With the Chinese apples in the cold stores meanwhile, prices for new offers are firming. Of course prices on a C+F-basis anyhow are more expensive due to the sharp increase of the freight costs.
There are some hick-ups in the supply chain to report due to the delays in the shipment in general and more specific caused by the “Ever Given”.
We expect firmer pricing at least till the new crop 2021 will arrive in Europe (Nov/Dec).

Apricots
Though the night frost end of March in the Malatya area was not as disastrous as in 2014, for sure it has left some damaged orchards, certainly in the higher areas.
It is still not clear how serious the damage is, but if we take an average of all figures around we would say we end the crop ’21 with around 20% less, provided under good conditions.
Obviously prices firmed – disguised for the European buyers by the weak Lira – as most sellers preferred not to bring their stocks yet to the market.
Besides especially the smaller sized apricots are becoming scarce and on top also from Turkey an increase of freight rates – for Europe about US$ 30,–/ton for time being,
is not helping to ease the prices. We may well advise you to have a look at your needs till the new crop.

Banana chips
The prices for the Philippine banana chips are still erratic. Most serious shippers are firm on their offers as domestic and Chinese demand is heavy and supply and production still suffer from
the severe lock downs in the country. A few have somewhat lower ideas, but mainly for the later periods and limited quantities.
As also the prices for the coconut oil are increasing – an important component of the price – we are as well more bullish on this market.
On the spot the situation remains tight due to the well-known logistic delays, as bookings are many times rolled over (against insane rates).

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
Supply of pineapple and papaya is still somewhat problematic. Prices have come down earlier this year, but now are on hold again with still limited supply – and of course also due to the delays in the shipments. Ginger and coconut are the firmer priced products.

Pears/Peaches
The first shipment of the new crop pears and peaches from South Africa are about to be shipped. Arriving in a complete empty market, these first sailings all will be committed.
Unfortunately the available quantities this year – certainly the pears – will be minimal, so we will have a difficult season ahead with scarcity ruling.

Prunes
The Chilean shipper are postponing still their offers for the new crop. They wish to see what is coming out after the calibration, now the fruit has dried.
The extend of the damage is hard to guess as any figure between 20% and 60% is around. For sure we will see higher prices than last season.
On top shipments will be late and only in May we will see the first vessels with prunes leaving.
As the market in Europe is almost empty, the coming months might give some headaches for the industries still in need of prunes for their production – if not covered.

Raisins
Also in the sultana area in around Izmir some night frost occurred, but the impact was minimal. The crop 2020 is likely to end at close to 300K tons, being close to the number of the previous season.
Looking at the export figures being 15% down, it is clear prices must come down. The market however is ‘disturbed’ by the buying of huge quantities by TMO at attractive prices for the farmers.
We think a hand-to-mouth buying would be a sound policy.
South Africa is selling well on the Thompsons and as also the limited quantity of goldens is selling well, it could well be the salesmen in SA will have an early holiday.
Prices are slightly firming at the moment and also in this case we may suggest to look at your needs.
Chilean prices are flat with the exception for the jumbo goldens, which are firm due to limited availability.


Nuts

Walnuts
In California the market eased somewhat, with a two tier market: the light and higher half counts are close to be sold and still firm. Many shipper even do not offer.
The darker material is still attractively priced as the Californian shippers know they have to move a bumper crop.
The Chilean crop is almost in. First reports speak about a quality wise good crop, though from certain areas there have been reports of some yellow walnuts.
The colour is good to excellent. Meanwhile Chile has sold already a good volume, so we see prices already advance somewhat as shippers confident to sell this crop of 150K tons easily.
It sounds like a broken record: higher freight rates do not help to get prices down…….