CatZinfo dried fruits and walnuts

With the first visitors from overseas already on their way to Europe, the food industry is preparing for Anuga, to be held 7-11October in Cologne.
There will be many topics to discuss on the markets for the dried fruits and nuts.
Some markets have changed drastically in the last weeks (sultanas/raisins) as well as waiting for the final outcome of the last crops on
the Northern Hemisphere (walnuts). At the same time we will have a look at the new crops on the other half of the world, which will start to be harvested in 3 to 4 months already.
The dollar is slowly but definitely getting stronger against the euro, which does not help to soften  prices for imported products mainly quoted in US-dollars.
Also, the continuous lowering of MRL’s and other more stringent controls on contaminants by EU-authorities might be an issue to discuss
with non-EU suppliers to make clear productions on their sight shall have to be adapted as well. Inevitably this will mean an increase in production costs.


Dried Fruits

Apples: unfortunately, there is some delay in the shipments of the new crop apple quarters and slices from China, due to a lack of workers at the moment.
First price indications are indeed somewhat lower than last year’s levels. But problem will be to have the goods in Europe rather swift
as the market is completely empty for these forms of apple products.


Apricots

After the high opening prices for the crop 2023 Turkish apricots, due to a partly destroyed infrastructure in the Malatya area due to the earthquake and
a substantial share of rain- and hail damaged fruits, sales were slow. We now see a slightly easier market, however with the stronger dollar not
materializing in cheaper prices in Euros. Moreover the increased interest rates in Turkey (30% at the moment) to fight
the enormous inflation in a more traditional way, is also not positive news for the Turkish exporters, as it will mean a somewhat stronger Lira against the Dollar,
meaning higher export prices.
Anyhow with a limited crop (estimated at 85K) availability of (good quality) product will become an issue this season. As a result, most apricots in anticipation of
higher prices with a short crop, have been sulphured so natural apricots will be scarce and expensive.

 

Banana chips

The prices at the moment rather stable, however timely shipments remain a problem. Broken chips are hard to find in the Philippines.
It is however expected that demand will pick up for the Asian festivals, as well as for the Ramadan period in the relevant markets.

 

Cranberries

With a disappointing crop in Canada due to heavy rains and hot nights in July, however compensated with a good crop in Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
Putting this in the perspective of a record crop last year, it will mean a slightly smaller crop for the season to come. Prices are attractive but may be somewhat
firmer than last year’s.


Pineapple/Papaya

The winter crop for pineapple in Thailand will be about one month later (Nov instead of Oct starting). Production will hence be interrupted and there
will undoubtfully be some hick-ups in supply. Process already firming for first shipments.
New plantations – due to attractive prices for producers in the last 2 years – may soften the prices for papaya in the future.
This however will only be seen after the harvest of the coming crop in Nov/Dec.
The mango for the winter crop has already started and the supply is not that much in the beginning. The size of the winter crop for mango is generally smaller than the summer crop.
We assume that the carry out of last summer crop is not that much due to the abundant supply in the very short period of time,
causing the factories not able to collect them as much as they expected to do.
Therefore, we do expect the limited supply position from now until the next summer crop in April/May 2024

 

Prunes
The Chilean industry is getting back on the old strategy of offering some ‘last’ containers.
Nevertheless we see somewhat easier pricing on prunes and contrary to some previous editions of Anuga (or SIAL) at this time of the
year, the Chilean prune exhibitors still have some to sell on the fair.
Also ginger is late and prices remain on a higher level.

 

Raisins

The disappointing sultana crop in Turkey has meanwhile led to a rather strong increase in the prices. Not only a short crop, but also rains during
harvesting, causing darker sultanas with higher mould levels, have fuelled these increases in pricing.
Actual (official) estimations are at max 215K against a final produced crop of 300K last year. Prices have risen meanwhile by about 25% in the last couple of weeks.
So it will be important to have a reliable partner when bought earlier in the season……
Thompsons will be scarce from Turkey this year as not many farmers dear to take the risk of a longer drying period in a rainy summer, for only a limited premium.
Perhaps they could have made a better premium with the knowledge of today, as South Africa rather unexpected and surprisingly is meanwhile sold on
medium Thompsons. With Californian indications 30% over last quoted SA prices, we will see for the coming six months for sure a firm market on Thompsons.
Goldens are sold as well from SA, so with Ramadan procurements to be covered from existing stocks, we may see some ‘unexpected’ prices for this item
as well and cannot but advice to cover till new crop arrivals in April/May 2024 from what is still left over.
Chile also sold on goldens as well as genuine flames.

Nuts

Walnuts

A 5% increase is expected for the crop 2023 in California (according to the objective estimate). This will certainly not help to realise the plans of the Californian
industry to lift prices, being necessary to make the walnuts crop a profitable operation. For sure if prices will drop back to last season’s ending prices,
the uprooting of orchards – meanwhile estimated already at 4% – will continue.
This year’s quality however is good with mainly light material, so there is no need to ‘dump’ darker domestic material into less requiring markets.
Also the lower prices enables the industry to move larger quantities, so there is not much fear for a large carry out into next season.
However at these lower levels and eventually negative yield for the farmers, these may choose to pull trees and opt for other produce.
Of course in the long run this will lead to higher prices.
For the current crop as said the quality is good, but harvesting about 10 days later, which will give some issues on the arrivals for Christmas,
next to far from solid shipment schedules will not be a positive element.
The Chileans claim to be sold for over 80% and certainly high end products are getting scarce to non-existing. With still at least 6 to 7 months to
go, we may well advise to have a look at your need till summer ’24 for extra light and hand cracked material.