CatZinfo dried fruits & nuts

Many in our trade have visited the INC-congress in Dubai, which was after 3 years a good thing to meet each other ‘life’ again.
While the war continues in Ukraine, the world goes on and the news about it is hardly shown on page one anymore. Of course it has caused quite some disruption in the trade- and logistic chains. Supply from Ukraine is hardly possible anymore, though this is in our scope of business limited mainly to problems for raisins and walnuts.
Another issue is the shortage of sunflower oil, used to get free flowing product like with raisins and prunes.
Outside Europe this is not a problem having domestic sunflower oil; in and around Europe there are other plant based replacements, so this will not jeopardize production of dried fruits.
A bigger issue is the long lasting disturbance of the shipments caused by the imbalance of the available containers. Freight rates did ease somewhat from Asia to Europe, but we now see a rise in rates from South America and South Africa, paired with delayed shipments as shipping companies reschedule to prevent sailing with half empty vessels.
As a consequence stocks in Europe are low and spot material is often premium priced.
Another phenomenon is the fact in most origins shippers quote only on a FOB-basis in view of the fluctuating prices. This makes it difficult for the occasional importers, as without having contracts and connections with shipping lines, these odd containers shall have to wait at the end of the queue for space on the vessels with consequently serious delays.
The dollar has firmed against the euro, but actually both currencies are more or less in balance the last couple of weeks.

Dried Fruits

 

Apples

In the last months before the new Chinese crop (Sep) will be ready for harvesting, the left-overs of the crop 2021 will come from cold stores. With current high energy prices, these became more expensive and as a consequence we do see a somewhat firmer market. Also from China freight rates eased a bit, but on the other hand shipping schedules are
not reliable, as many containers have to wait for more than one vessel to be taken finally on board.
Though it is hard to make any prediction for the coming crop – as usual the Chinese shippers expect a smaller crop – we may well recommend to have a look at your needs till end of the year.

Apricots
The new crop will be disappointing again, so we are afraid hoping for better prices will be in vain.

Taking into consideration today’s high price levels, because demand is exceeding supply, already about 70K+ tons have been exported from Turkey this year.
As the crop ’22 is expected to be only some 80/85K, of which a 30% will be second class, we think we made our point.
The increasing prices are in spite of an ongoing weakening of the Turkish Lira, whereas Europeans have to cope with the stronger US-dollar to convert in Euros.
If and when the new crop will be available, it is feared the more irregular and expensive shipments will not help to relax the market.

Banana chips
The market for Philippine banana chips on the spot can only be described as bullish. Due to ‘rolled over’ shipments new arrivals cannot match demand in Europe and are sold before touching ports.
Though freight from the Philippines eased somewhat – but still a multiple amount compared to earlier days – prices in euro’s remain stable due to the shortages and the firmer dollar in the last weeks.
Also now China is opening again after the COVID-restrictions, a revival of the demand from this important market will trigger prices as well.

Cranberries
No major changes, with stable to firm pricing and producers booked for the coming months.

Pears/Peaches
Only some peaches still available from South-Africa. Pears are sold and being actually yet in the beginning of the season 22/23,we will certainly see some shortage for this product. No need to tell what this will mean for the future pricing.

Pineapple/Papaya

The new crop has softened somewhat the prices for pineapple, but this discount is fully absorbed by higher productions costs (especially energy)  and also here a firmer dollar.
Papaya remains short and it is expected after the summer, the off-season, the situation will exacerbate and it will take till the new crop in November until we may see an improvement. Mind you: this will mean for arrival in Europe only early 2023!

Prunes
The first Chilean crop 2022 loads are about to arrive. Obviously with some delays due to the mentioned logistic problems.
As the market is empty in Europe, it was ‘easy’ for the Chilean shippers to sell at good prices a substantial quantity for the first shipments. With a good cash position, there is no need to discount at the moment, hence we see a stable trend in Chile.
On the spot market in Europe due to the shipments yet to arrive we see heavy demand, pushing prices up for immediate delivery.
Having a failure crop in France and a limited crop in California (both crop 2021) we are afraid also for prunes, we will have to face another year of high prices.

Raisins
South-Africa has a difficult season ahead. Not only the crop is smaller than projected (75K actual against 86K projected), but also the share of the mainstream products (natural Thompsons and goldens) changed considerably. Thompson increased from 50% to 63% of the total crop, mainly because Thompsons were safer to dry with the high humidity during drying, and goldens decreased from 21% to 13%, being the most risky product to make in view of the longer drying time needed.
Today goldens are sold out in SA, though a ‘last’ lot occasionally is offered at a ‘luxury’ price. Prices for Thompsons remain nevertheless stable, as SA is not the biggest player in the world and prices from a.o. California are still way higher, which is a guideline for the SA exporters of course.
The coming Turkish crop is expected to be bigger, though for sure there are still a lot of “if’s” and “but’s”. Prices remain attractive.

Nuts

 

Walnuts
The market for walnuts is somewhat in the doldrums. In Europe there is somewhat demand due to logistic delays, whereas in California shippers trying to raise prices. This has been somewhat successful with the high end products, but for darker and industrial product  some discounting is needed as simply a big crop must be moved before the end of the season.
The Chilean crop is 10/11% bigger than last years and with about 170K becoming a serious player on the world market. Prices are well above the Californian level for the high half counts and light material. The rather unique hand-cracked and extra light material is still paying a good premium, but already well sold to the traditional customers prepared to pay for such high quality.