12th July 2019 – Turkish Sultana Crop Making Good Progress

Exports of Turkish sultanas and raisins have reached 235,000 tonnes compared with 243,430 tonnes for the same period last season.

This means that exports are running at around 4,000 tonnes per week so total sales by the end of the season should reach around 260,000 tonnes. The result will be that there is very little carry-over from this year’s crop for the new season.

The good news, however, is that the 2019 crop is progressing well and estimates now suggest that this may exceed 310,000 tonnes. The weather is the main factor affecting the growth of the bunches of grapes on the vines but so far reports are that all sizes of fruit, jumbo, standard, medium and small should be available.
Prices of current crop sultanas remain unchanged at around USD2,200 per tonne fob Izmir for specially cleaned type No.9 quality, but if demand increases it is not inconceivable that this price could increase as availability of raw material is now limited. Most packers are offering new crop fruit on the expectation that the harvest will begin at the start of August with first shipments likely to take place in early September.

The UK continues to be the largest customer for Turkish sultanas and raisins and if prices remain competitive and quality is consistent this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Prices of Californian and South African raisins have continued to ease as packers seek to clear their inventories of 2018 crop raw material. Offers of select US Thompson seedless raisins are presently between USD1.17-1.20 per lb c&f Felixstowe for shipments through until October. This is a competitive price but unfortunately the value of sterling against the US dollar has continued to weaken on reports that the US may reduce its interest rates and the continuing uncertainty in the UK over Brexit, and this reduces the benefit of the price reduction.

All Turkish and Greek dried fruits are currently duty free into the UK. This could change if an agreement is not reached before the end October deadline for the UK to leave the EU. Import duty would then be chargeable and would undoubtedly cause prices to increase and disrupt sales.

News from Greece continues to suggest that this year’s crop of Greek currants will be much larger and following the recent election in Greece and the change in government, there is already a more positive feeling for the future. Prices of Greek currants have been exceptionally high over the past few months, causing a reduction in demand from traditional UK bakery customers. It is unlikely that prices of currants will fall dramatically until the crop is safely harvested and first shipments have been made, but hopefully once these have taken place prices of currants will come back into line with other dried vine fruits such as sultanas and raisins.

The official estimate for Turkish apricots this year is around 101,000 tonnes, which is lower than usual. There is, however, a significant carry-over of up to 20,000 tonnes from last year. In theory, therefore, there should be ample fruit to meet demand and the quality is reported to be good with most sizes available for export. First arrivals of new crop are expected towards the end of this month with shipments available in early August.