11th April 2019 – Brexit Delay Relieves Pressure on Dried Fruit and Nut Buyers

The decision by the EU to extend the exit date for the UK to leave the EU until October 31 has brought some welcome relief to UK buyers and importers, as this may reduce the necessity to stockpile for the immediate future.

The ongoing situation is, however, far from clear so this may just extend the period of uncertainty until later in the year. The present position remains good for Easter sales of dried fruits, with no reports of shortages and relatively stable prices for both dried vine and tree fruits.

THE SIX-MONTH DELAY WILL REDUCE THE NEED FOR DRIED FRUIT AND NUT BUYERS TO BUILD UP INVENTORIES

Turkish raisin and sultana prices are broadly unchanged with specially cleaned standard number nine sultanas quoted between USD2,250-2,300 per tonne fob Izmir for shipments through until the end of August.

There remains a shortage of light-coloured sultanas, such as type number 10 and these are likely to sell out before the end of the season. As reported previously, the premium for Turkish raisins has reduced to no more than USD50/tonne and there are reports that, in some instances, sellers are now selling raisins and sultanas at the same level.

There are no reports of frost damage to the vines, which is good news for this year’s new crop of vine fruit. It is still, however, too early to predict the size of the new crop but early estimates suggest this may exceed 300,000 tonnes. This will be good news for the industry and should lead to a reduction in prices at the start of the season. Recent local government elections in Turkey have unsettled current markets and the value of the Turkish lira continues to fluctuate wildly.

US raisin prices have continued to ease, with some packers reported to be offering select US Thompson seedless raisins between USD1.39-1.40 per pound c&f Felixstowe for shipments through until October. This is a significant fall and reflects the US industry’s wish to recapture export sales to its traditional European customers.

South African raisin prices have also reduced and as prices of the two origins are now almost in line there is likely to be less demand from the US for exports of South African fruit. Reports indicate that this year’s crop of South African raisins may reach almost 70,000 tonnes. This is good news but will mean that South African exporters will need to find additional markets. Prices have reduced to between USD2,700-2,800/tonne cif UK for choice grade Thompson seedless raisins.

Apricots

Exports of Turkish apricots have reached around 75,000 tonnes with anticipated total sales up to the end of the season of around 95,000 tonnes. This means that there may be a carry-over at the end of the year of between 40,000-45,000 tonnes but most of the fruit will be of small sizes with very few natural or organic apricots remaining. The good news is that the orchards below 1,300 metres have finished blossoming, so any frost danger should have passed. Apparently however April 23 is a significant date in the apricot calendar so there is still the potential for frost damage to trees in the higher mountain areas.

Prices have increased due in the main to extra demand for the Ramadan holiday and continued uncertainty for the new crop.