19th April 2018 – Californian Raisin Exports Reduced Following Increase In Costs

The high prices of US Thompson seedless raisins continue to have an effect on global prices of raisins.

A source in Fresno, California reports that total sales of Thompson seedless raisins to date are 182,346 packed (short) tons, compared with 202,202 packed tons for last year, which is a decrease of 10%. Exports of Thompson seedless raisins excluding Canada for March 2018 were 7,399 packed tons against 10,506 tons for the same period in 2017. This is a significant decrease of 30%, which reflects the higher prices and lack of availability.

Exports to the UK for March were a relatively modest, 436 tons. Total exports to the UK between August 1 2017-March 31 2018 were 4,541 tons and it is to be hoped that sales will increase as the exchange rate improves.

Prices of US raisins remain very firm, with offers of select Thompson seedless raisins between USD1.6-1.8 per pound c&f Felixstowe. Even with the improved exchange rate, this means that US raisins are now in excess of GBP3,000 (USD4,251) per tonne landed ex UK warehouse. Unsold stocks of Turkish raisins are, as reported last week, limited, with a number of South African packers temporarily withdrawn following high demand over the past two months.

Turkish sultanas therefore remain the most competitively priced of the three types of dried vine fruit and are at present readily available with no reports of any significant shortages. Prices remain unchanged with good quality standard No. 9 sultanas quoted between USD1,700-1,800 per tonne fob Izmir for shipments through until September.

Reports suggest that much of the Mediterranean is enjoying an early summer heatwave with temperatures reaching 25-28˚C. This means that the vines will bud earlier than usual and if there is no further frost the harvest should be two or three weeks earlier as well.

Turkish apricot prices have eased as each week passes and the danger of frost damage to the trees reduces. Last year saw a bumper crop although there were a number of quality issues. This year’s crop is expected to be smaller, but hopefully with better quality and the benefit of a carry-over of unsold fruit from the 2017 crop. Prices of Turkish apricots might therefore weaken further as the harvest in August gets closer.

This week has finally seen some offers of Greek currants as farmers begin to offer their remaining stocks of fruit to local packers. Prices, however, have been very high with offers between EUR2,650-2,750 (USD3,276-3,400) per tonne fob Piraeus. As reported previously, it is hoped that the new crop of Greek currants will be larger but there are several months before these become available.