CatZinfo – Dried fruits and walnuts

Unfortunately there seems to be no shortcut to a peaceful solution in Ukraine, though anyhow much harm has been caused already.
The human tragedy is enormous and it looks the scars will anyhow exist for the coming years.
Looking at the trading these days, we notice a careful approach of most buyers. The restrictions to do business with Russia undoubtfully will also mean a market of about 150 million people cannot be reached. Also logistic streams will have to change in a period in which  congestions and constraints already disrupt the smooth distribution worldwide.
On the Southern Hemisphere most crops have finished and negotiations have started, for which both sellers and suppliers are holding their cards covered. Producers for most crops claiming crops are somewhat disappointing compared to first estimations; buyers holding back in view of the situation in Europe and careful as far as the freight costs are concerned. These are still very high and we see more and more shippers offering FOB, not to run the risk of higher costs when freight costs are increasing further. Taking into consideration the substantially increased fuel prices, a realistic possibility.
The drop of the euro against the dollar has levelled out and is for time being more or less stable around €/$ 1,10.


Dried Fruits

 

Apricots
The export figure to-date is more or less same as last year, however with a smaller crop there will be virtually no carry-out at the end of the season.
Though the Turkish Lira declined even further in value, prices remained stable as supply is getting very scarce.
Exports to Russia were anyhow small, as prices were too high for this market, usually buying low (industrial) quality, which has been hardly available this season.
It is expected bloom will start only in a few weeks as at the moment temperatures at night are at freezing level. This will most probably also mean a later crop in an empty market. A later bloom may also minimize the risk for night frost.

 

Banana chips
The prices for banana chips are firming again. After a period of relaxing prices, demand is picking up, especially for the Asian market.
Especially for broken banana chips there is hardly any offer. Other than for shipment June onwards. For Europe situation anyhow remains tight as the shipments are difficult to book and containers ‘rolled over’ numerous times.
It simply means demand is out passing the arrivals and a as a result shortage on the spot market with firmer prices.

 

Cranberries
Prices remain at the higher level, with some shippers fully booked for the coming months.
In combination with the firmer dollar, cranberries are becoming a “luxury” dried fruit if we look at the final price in euros.

 

Pears/Peaches
The harvest for these products was late compared to the previous season and certainly with the empty shelfs for pears, it will mean additional headache for the replenishers in the industry.
The relatively low prices for pears, does not encourage farmers to dry pears, as it is quite labour intensive. As a result we see less supply and in combination with a strong demand it obviously means a firmer market.

However the crop is what it is and if prices become attractive for the farmers, it will only be next season they can increase the volume (subject weather conditions).We expect another difficult year for the pears!!
For peaches we see a normal crop, but undoubtfully prices will be influenced by the higher priced pears when industries will use peaches as a cheaper alternative.

 

Pineapple/papaya

Pineapple is well available, however papaya will become a difficult subject this year. The available quantity is much smaller than usual.
Shippers have started to limit the quantity of papaya per FCL and only ship if combined with other product in same FCL. This will last at least till the next winter-crop in Oct/Nov, so practically we see no improvement till early 2023 taking transit time to Europe in consideration.

Prunes
At the moment there is a sort of “Mexican Stand-off”. As expected the prices for the first shipments were a continuation of last season’s levels of the last months.
The Chilean industry has taken this a sign, the market accept these levels. On the other hand buyers having covered first needs, are not yet keen to cover for a longer period, so activity is this market is slow at the moment.
Also – as mentioned above – the higher freight costs are becoming an important part of the pricing.
Also the disruption of the sailings –as a start it is difficult to get containers booked on a vessel – will make the arrivals most possibly later than hoped for.

 

Raisins
It is now pretty sure the South African crop is disappointing. Did we start before harvesting with an expected 90K crop,  after the first rains this went down to 80K and meanwhile sank to just over 70K mtons. Especially the limited quantity of bleached raisins will cause somewhat heavier increases in pricing this season. Most shippers are withdrawn offering mainstream products.
Also from South Africa shipments may be victim of logistical constraints and higher freight costs.
Prices for Chilean jumbo raisins – the most popular from this origin –  are ’flat’. Actually same levels like last year, but of course the rate of the dollar is stronger and resulting in higher prices for the European buyers finally converting the product in euros.
Californian prices for Thompsons remains at a higher level and they will be pleased to see, South Arica has increased prices as well.
Turkish sultanas are in the doll drums: limited activity at unchanged prices. It is to be noted Turkish sultanas – compared to other alternatives – are very attractively priced!

Nuts

 

Walnuts

Though the uncommitted inventory is substantial, it consists mainly of darker combo material and lower half counts. Meanwhile some shippers claim to be sold
on the higher and lighter half counts (like Chandler 80%) and we see a firmer price level for this segment. The shipment figures upto February were disappointing.
In spite of a crop about 60K less than last season, unsold quantity is 60K more than last year end of February.
We expect a wider spread between low (combo) material and higher end (light/Chandler) material.
Also the high Chilean opening prices, will support the Californians to pull up prices for light material.