With a few exceptions, we see most markets firming at the moment in spite of rather slow activities in most markets; at least in Europe. This may be caused by more activities in other parts of the world, like buying in anticipation of the Ramadan period and more demand from the Asian continent.
Also a remarkable movement of the dollar, which is getting weaker against the euro, but also against many domestic currencies of the producing countries. At time of writing we noticed a level of almost 1,25 for the euro/dollar, against 1,20 a few weeks ago.
• APRICOTS •
The prices for Turkish apricots rose sharply in the last weeks. Farmers and handlers have sold well and are in a comfortable financial position and have no need to sell. Moreover the remainder of the crop is mainly small sized and a substantial percentage must be regarded as ‘industrial’ quality. Next to this there are signs of an early bloom, so the risk of frost in the most vulnerable stage of the crop is higher than usual. Especially prices for nr. 5 and bigger are firmer for obvious reasons.
• APPLES •
The measurements of the Chinese government to enforce all kind of regulations by even the shutdown of many factories in China in the battle against pollution, has caused not only delays in shipments but now also has made prices to rise sharply. Short supply on the spot and firm prices in origin are translated in higher prices for the Chinese apple products at this moment. We do not foresee any improvement until the new crop (arrival end 2018), so may well advise you to have a look at your needs, as we see no downside in this market.
• BANANA CHIPS •
Prices in the Philippines are stable, which makes prices for the European buyers more attractive to step in.
• CRANBERRIES •
A disappointing return from the fields (bogs) has led to a more and more firmer market. For sure we have left the lowest level ever seen, but the price for the cranberries is still historically low. Being on the ‘long’ side will not be a major risk…..
• CURRANTS •
Greece is virtually sold and those rare containers offered, a premium price have to be paid for obviously. Also the news from South Africa, where the drought in the Vredendal area most probably will cause a 20% smaller crop, is not a good sign.
• PINEAAPPLE/PAPAY •
Practically unchanged situation. Some tighter situation for the natural papaya, now shippers are only selling with a max of 5 to 10 tons per fcl to be taken with other products. Prices nevertheless stable.
• PRUNES •
Chile is expecting a crop of 80/85K mtons and a carry-out of 10K approximately. The main size on average is in the 60/80 range. Prices expected to be a continuation of the levels of last year. The crop will start in a few weeks and first shipments can be in April.
Table 1. Prunes: world production * in 2016/2017 – 2017/2018 (estimate)
• RAINSINS •
- The Californian market is still bullish. Some shippers don’t offer at all and those offering require a 50% over last year’s levels. Apparently they sell enough to have confidence in this level as we see no signs of weakness: on the contrary some shippers increased their prices this week.
- The ‘big’ question will be: what level the South African major players will drop as an opening price on the market. It is no rocket science to predict it will be way higher than last year. More interesting is to see the ‘distance’ they will keep to the Californian pricing. Of course they will go for a maximum return, but also realize they have to sell the crop. Traditionally prices have to be lower than the Californian as not all industries can or want to work with the South-African product. First indications from some smaller shippers indicate levels ‘in-between’.
- Chile has announced their first prices and as to be expected, these are a bit higher than last year’s levels. Of course also the Chilean farmers and exporters follow the development in the other producing countries and want to have a piece of the cake.
- Iran seems to have a somewhat disappointing crop. Not only for their sultanas they quote even higher than the Turkish competitors, also for the goldens – usually the cheaper alternative for other origins – they will be at a similar level and will not distinguish themselves in pricing this season.