CATZINFO – DRIED FRUITS & WALNUTS

Now holidays are over – except for the happy few – we cannot but notice almost all products in our scope of business have firmed in pricing.
There is a complex of factors which have contributed to these higher prices.
Not only smaller (anticipated) crops 2021 (from apricots to walnuts) which also do tumble in empty markets, so demand for the first shipments is strong.
Next to this the delays in shipments all over the world have contributed to the continuous shortage of several products, especially from Asia and California.
Last but not least the insane tariffs for containers especially from Asia becoming a substantial part of the cost price.
We are talking about US$ 15.000,–(!) and more for a 40ft FCL from certain Asian origins and some say, we haven’t seen the end yet.
The US-dollar remained rather stable against the Euro, whereas the Turkish Lira gained some value against the Dollar and Euro.


Dried Fruits

Apples
A typical example of the logistical constraints is the Chinese apple market. Many contracts bought on a C+F basis appear to be a heavy loss for the Chinese shippers.
In the best case shipments are delayed, but also a number of shippers require additional amounts for the extra freight costs and some simply refuse to ship and are in breach of contracts.
As a consequence the supply is getting thin in Europe and spot positions require a premium.
New crop is meanwhile offered and looks normal, but due to the high freight tariffs which are obviously part of the final price, we end up at a higher level than last season.
It will also be a challenge to have the new crop shipped swiftly in view of the lack of containers from China.

Apricots
The crop of the Turkish apricots is less than expected. Estimations are abo 15% less compared to last season. In combination with an almost neglectable carry-out of
the last crop and consequently low stocks in the consuming countries, it is clear prices increased considerably. On top we learned the August shipments were about 2000 tons higher than last year!
Another issue is the unusual condition unsulphured apricots are less expensive than the sulphured product. Farmers – having received a good price for the natural product last season – opted for more natural condition apricots.
It simply means with a smaller crop the supply of sulphured apricots is even less.
TMO (the governmental body supporting the market) has not given their price they will buy in the market, which is actually rather logical as at these high prices farmers do not need much support…..
With a stronger Turkish Lira in addition, prices increased meanwhile considerably and together with the difficult shipping situation (higher rates from Turkey as well) we doubt we
will see any weakness till next crop.

Banana chips
Prices of banana chips fluctuated heavily for time being. In general we may report a slight weakening of prices on FOB-basis, but this will be temporarily with the high season coming.
Also here prices on a C+F EMP-basis have increased due to sky high freight tariffs, which certainly on a relatively cheap product have a considerable influence.
Slow shipments contributed to low stocks in Europe and we do not see any improvement till the end of this year. We therefor strongly advise to have a look at your needs till Q1 2022.

Currants
As you may have seen or read an extended heat wave has hit the whole of Greece.
The heat wave during begging – mid August – mainly affected the vines both in earlier ripening as well as shrivelling and early drops.
Nevertheless the early received quantities are of a good quality. It is expected the crop will be about 10% less, but with a reasonable carry out, prices will be – as one of the exceptions in dried fruits – be somewhat lower than last season.

Pineapple/Papaya/Mango
In Thailand COVID is again becoming an issue as the rates are growing seriously. Only 10% of the people is vaccinated.
The Thai authorities have called in for severe measurement, restricting the movement of people.
As a consequence the factories cannot produce at full capacity due to lack of workers.
It means more delays in the shipments and new orders with some factories will be only possible as of December.
We suggest to have a view on your needs till early 2022 in order to be able to plan timely shipments.

Pears/Peaches
SA is completely empty on pears, as well as most importers. Moreover some last loads will be shipped with limited quantities as the quality and sizing of the remaining product is not up to standards.
For peaches some small inventories are left.
We are afraid especially pears will become a headache for people still in need, as we have to go another 7 to 8 months before arrival of the new crop.

Prunes
Last containers from Chile are offered at record prices. Meanwhile the market in Europe is getting empty as well and buyers in need have to pay a premium to get some material.
California is getting in the picture again in spite of the higher levels (including import duty) but also has a limited crop.
Alternative may be some European sources, where the new crop is around the corner, but for sure they will do no price promotions.

Raisins
The Turkish sultana crop 2021 crop will be more or less same as last year’s and together with the carry out will end at a 350K tons according to our sources.
However there is not yet an “official” figure about the crop size. It is expected Thompson will be less, as TMO has paid last season more for sultanas.
Also TMO has not yet announced a buying price, being also part of the strategy to lift prices of course. It means farmers are holding their crop and as such creating an artificial shortage.
It means there is no offering at the Boursa at this moment, which makes exporters nervous as they need to buy for their early shipment contracts.
Another issue also from Izmir will be the container availability. In general export increased from Turkey, so there is  lack of containers. Needless to say tariffs meanwhile doubled.
South Africa is sold in their main stream products. There are still left some odd containers jumbo or bold or less popular varieties.
Chile still has left some jumbo sized raisins, with goldens becoming scarce.
California has increased their prices, certainly now the cheaper South African Thompsons sold out.


Nuts

Walnuts
After two times delayed last Wednesday the “objective” estimation of the Californian walnut crop was announced: 670.000 tons. It is all about the perspective you looking at it:
Sellers say it is 15% or 100.000 tons less than last year. Buyers say: the objective was 722k after which prices jumped. Now it is 7% less and they still have to sell a lot of walnuts.
However the sentiment is on the side of the Californians we think. They have a manageable carry-out in spite of the last season’s bumper crop (785K), so they can move this quantity.
Moreover the market on 80% light is completely empty, so we expect this higher end quality to be relatively expensive compared to domestic qualities and pieces.
Monday California is closed and we expect to have more accurate pricing in the course of next week when we know how the market will settle.
With Chile almost completely committed for their crop they will be pleased to see this news and certainly at least maintain their higher levels.
Eastern European crops will be harvested in the coming weeks, but for sure they also will add some extra on their offers.