The danger of frost appears to have passed in the Mediterranean, which is good news for the Turkish and Greek dried fruit producers.
Turkish sultana prices remain unchanged with offers of specially cleaned standard No.9 sultanas available between USD1,200–1,250 per tonne fob Izmir, with genuine Turkish raisins at a premium of around USD100/tonne on this figure. The ready availability of Turkish fruit and the low prices has meant that this year, most major UK users have either switched to using Turkish fruit rather than fruit from other origins such as China and Iran.
Meanwhile, the new season Turkish vine fruit crop is expected to be around 300,000 tonnes with a carry-over from the 2016 crop of upwards of 50,000 tonnes. This should mean that prices of sultanas and raisins will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future and could even reduce once the new crop is safely harvested.
In the past “old crop fruit” would be sold at a discount or “new crop” at a premium. This difference has not been significant for several years but may reoccur this year as new crop fruit, particularly from Turkey is usually lighter in colour and fresher in appearance and perhaps therefore worth a premium.
In Greece, some local farmers in the Peloponnese have started to offer their remaining stocks of Greek currants to the private packers. Quantities are however limited and prices remain high with offers of provincial quality, where they can be found at between EUR1,800-1,850/tonne (USD1968-2,023) fob Piraeus. This equates to a landed price in the UK of over GBP1,650 per tonne for Greek currants, which is a big difference between the cost of the equivalent small size Turkish or Iranian raisins.
Reports from South Africa suggest that although sales have been steady, most major packers still have stocks of Thompson seedless raisins and sultanas available to sell. Demand from Germany in particular, has been lower this year. Sales as in the case of California, are likely to have been affected by the big difference in cost between South African and American raisins and their Turkish equivalent.
US raisins remain quoted between USD0.88-0.90 cents per lb c&f Felixstowe with ample stocks available to meet forward orders. The statistics from the US clearly show that Asia rather than Europe has become a much more important export market for US raisins. This trend seems likely to continue going forward. California does however have much to offer to both the UK and European market in terms of its consistent quality and unique flavour and appearance and it is anticipated that sales will of US raisins will remain steady or increase.