20th April 2017 – Turkish Currency Strength Keeps Vine Fruit Prices Steady

Prices of Turkish dried fruit remain supported this week, following the recent election, with values expected to hold for the time being on the back of a strong local currency.

The recent vote in Turkey on the proposed change in the constitution resulted in a narrow victory for the President and an extension of the current state of emergency. The Turkish lira remains strong at between TRL3.6T-3.8T to USD1.00. This should help maintain present prices of Turkish dried fruits.

Prices of Turkish sultanas remain unchanged week over week with offers available between USD1,200-1,300 per tonne fob Izmir for specially cleaned type no 9 quality. This year, reports are that the fruit has been good quality with plenty of light colour berries. Weather conditions remain favourable for the new crop so it seems likely that prices will remain at this level for the foreseeable future.

The proximity of the Ramadan religious holiday will increase demand in Turkey from local markets for all types of dried fruits but, so far, no shortages are reported with the exception of Turkish figs, where available stocks of good quality raw material are limited.

There have been some reports of issues with higher than usual levels of ochratoxin in Turkish vine fruits imported into the EU. It is reported that a proposal has been made to increase the percentage of imports that are tested on arrival in the EU. Most reliable importers do, however, ensure that their suppliers provide regular test results and fruit is generally tested on arrival to ensure it complies with current MRLs for mycotoxins.

The UK continues to be the major export customer for Turkish sultanas and raisins. It is reported that there has been an increase in demand in some European countries for Iranian vine fruits this year but, due to ongoing political issues, the UK market seems reluctant to move away from using Turkish vine fruits for the time being.

Major US packers are starting to increase their prices for Thompson seedless raisins. It is unclear whether this is due to an increase in demand or pressure from the domestic US market. The good news, however, is that the value of sterling has jumped by over 3% during the past week which should help stimulate sales of US raisins and other dried fruits. As an indication, good quality US Select raisins remain available between USS0.88-0.90 pound c&f Felixstowe for shipment through until October 2017.

The Turkish apricot market remains in a state of flux with prices unchanged as farmers continue to monitor local weather conditions. So far there are no serious reports of frost or hail damage and there will probably be a good crop this year to add to the carry-over at the end of the season. Prices could therefore reduce from today’s levels once the fruit is safely harvested.

This year has seen good availability of all types of dried vine fruits, with most origins able to meet any new orders without difficulty. The exception is Greece, where a much smaller currants crop has resulted in
higher prices and a general lack of availability. This situation does not seem likely to change soon although the arrival of the first new shipments of South African currants will give major users an alternative source of supply.