CatZinfo – dried fruits & walnuts

It is a disappointing conclusion, but the war, while it goes on in Ukraine, is gradually becoming part of daily life, surpassing the human tragedy, especially for the innocent civilians in Ukraine.
Let us hope the responsible people will see swiftly they made a precious and dramatic mistake, so many lives on both sides may still be saved.
Meanwhile the consequences are felt worldwide. Increase of costs especially for energy, is not only triggering higher prices for transport, but also production costs. In general inflation is increasing and we may come in an upward tendency with less to spend by the consumers.
As for transport, we saw a slight easing of the tariffs, but in view of the above we see a stabilization, whereas the lack of equipment and shipping space brings us back to the old way: who pays, comes aboard….
Though in Europe COVID is not the top-problem anymore, do not forget in Asia it still is with huge cities like Shanghai in complete lockdown, which is again meaning a disruption of available shipping equipment in the region and finally causing a disbalance worldwide.
Anyhow the result is that many shipments have been delayed, causing heavy spot demand and consequently low stock levels in Europe.
The crops on the Southern Hemisphere are in and last dried fruits are on the drying fields. In general no major problems, with some countries and crops down and other having a perfect crop.
The dollar is slowly firming against the euro and does not help to limit price increases in euro’s.

Dried Fruits

 

Apples
The prices for Chinese apples have gradually firmed, due to the heavy rains last year. Also freight costs remain expensive.
The shipment suffer from extended transport times and stocks in Europe are on a low level.
As storage of apples increases the costs of course, we do not see any improvement on pricing at least till the new crop in October.

Apricots
The bloom is to be seen in the orchards. The fact is: it is a couple of weeks later than ‘normal’. It means on one hand the first shipments will be later, on the other hand the risk of  night frost, destroying a substantial part of the crop will be diminished.
Exports are similar to last year, whereas the crop was smaller. It makes the Turkish industry (farmers, processors and shippers) being confident to sit on their last stocks, as the carry out will be minimal. Though prices eased somewhat, it was hardly noticeable in Europe by the stronger dollar.
First shipments in Aug/Sep 2022 will do a premium as needed to fill the empty markets, so we do not expect a significant drop of prices before the end of this year.

Banana chips
Due to the many rolled over shipments, demand for spot material is driving the prices for bananachips.
New arrivals hardly see the warehouse as mostly sold afloat already. This also maintains a vivid demand in origin, where production lines are well occupied and shippers getting more confident they can increase the prices again.
This is exactly what is happening at this very moment, worsened by higher logistic costs (also within Europe) and of course the stronger dollar against the euro. Taking some coverage till this winter or even till end of this year, may pay off in the future (and may avoid standstill of production due to lack of bananas).

Cranberries
No changes to report, with firm prices and new orders excepted only for real forward shipments.

Currants
The bottom seems to be reached, but as demand is slow in these months, buyers not in a hurry.
Nevertheless if some quantities needed for the coming autumn, it might be a good point to step in.

Pears/Peaches
Though the crop of pears was not that bad, the high humidity in South-Africa caused longer drying time.
This is partly the reason many limited the production of dried pears, as it is also labour intensive and sales prices did not bring enough revenues.
Meanwhile we see prices of dried pears increase firmly, as available quantities are already down to almost zero with first shipment not even on the water.
Peaches are well available, though the Elberta variety is somewhat scarce.

Prunes
With an empty market in Europe, the Chilean shippers obviously felt no need to decrease prices for their new crop. On top heavy demand for fresh material from China, topped off the additional quantity harvested compared to last season. Also we see alternatives like apricots and pears – interchangeable in fruit-mixes – being offered at even higher prices and hardly available as well.
First shipment may leave in the coming weeks, but as ocean freights are increasing, offers are only given on a FOB-basis as shippers do not want to risk to lose money on their CFR-quotations if freight increases. A condition which nowadays can happen overnight if with the scarcity of containers. This also means an April shipment may leave quite a bit later if the container is booked on the next vessel (and you are lucky if only once).
We see prices remain firm for the coming months and it may even be so, if sales and shipment go like today, this will be till the end of the season.

Raisins
South-Africa definitely will have a smaller crop than expected. More than average rainfall has caused a high humidity, which is of course a disadvantage for drying and resulted in lower sugar levels. As especially goldens need a longer drying period, producer significantly opted for less goldens and it is expected total production for of this product will be half of last year’s. All shippers meanwhile withdrew from the market and some already announced to be finished with goldens for the season.
With Ramadan demand next year to be supplied from this crop as well, we will see for sure an upward tendency in the pricing of goldens.
With the total crop probably only 70K tons – slightly less than last year – also for other products like Thompsons we do not see much of a downside, certainly in view
of the current Californian pricing for this type of raisins, being substantially higher.
The Chilean crop is of good quality, with high sugar levels, so goldens promise to be of nice colour. As usual the Chileans play the card of limited quantities and are firm on pricing. Partly however, this is this time realistically to blame to the higher freight costs.
Turkey is facing a late blossoming due to a cold weather period. It will mean a 3 to 4 weeks later crop (and shipment) of the 2022 edition.
Due this the risk of rains during drying will increase, but a nice hot summer may still advance this. Shipments are increasing at the moment and shippers are getting more confident the market may leave the low point it is at this moment.
Also the fact in 2023 there will be new elections might be an issue, as traditionally the government supports the agricultural sector buying buffer stocks of product at higher prices.
With Turkish sultanas by far the cheapest in the “raisin-family”, we may well advise you to have a look at your needs for a longer period.

Nuts

 

Walnuts

The Californian industry saw some revival of demand last month. Stronger demand for the higher half counts and light material caused some firmer pricing. The majority of this big crop is however darker material, so we see a split up between these two markets.
The delayed shipments from California let stocks diminish in Europe, where light material is certainly firmer.
Chilean levels are on the high side with slow demand and market seems to be in a Mexican stand-off, which party will move first. The quality of this year’s crop seems to be good.