13th December 2018 – Buoyant UK Christmas Dried Fruit Sales and Steady Prices Despite Brexit Uncertainty

Exports of Turkish raisins and sultanas are approaching 100,000 tonnes, broadly similar to last year’s quantity. Prices are however significantly higher than last year with an average cost of USD1,836 per tonne compared with USD1,520/tonne.

This is good news for the Turkish dried fruit industry but with a much smaller overall tonnage this year, rumours continue to persist that there may be a shortage of sultanas.

In reality, larger quantities of fruit have been dried this year as Turkish raisins, so hopefully these can be used as a substitute if supplies of sultanas become short. Prices of Turkish ready to use no 9 sultanas have firmed a little over the past few days to between USD2,250-2,300/tonne fob Izmir, with Turkish raisins at a premium of USD150/tonne on this figure.

It is still too early to accurately predict the size of the southern hemisphere crop of raisins and sultanas, but South Africa is predicted to have a good crop of over 65,000 tonnes. Australia and Chile should also produce quantities of dried vine fruits which will help to fill gaps in demand and further news will be awaited with interest, in the new year, by European buyers.

Although demand for Chinese raisins and sultanas for the UK market has been limited in recent years, due to quality issues and the ready availability of Turkish fruit, and significant sales are reported to have been made this year to the UK and prices of Chinese dried fruit have risen accordingly. The only other main producer of dried vine fruits is Iran, but this year’s crop is thought to be less than had been predicted at around 130,000 tonnes. It is still, however, difficult for Iranian fruit to be exported to Europe due to the present political situation.

US raisin prices remain steady, with offers of good quality select US Thompson seedless raisins quoted between USD1.50-1.52 per lb c&f Felixstowe This is still relatively expensive for the UK market as duty needs to be added to this cost, but hopefully demand for Californian raisins will increase in the coming months.

It remains unclear whether prices of dried vine fruits will continue to increase in the new year or remain steady. The lack of supply from Turkey and Greece has unsettled the global market but, in reality, most major buyers will have covered their forward requirements up until the new crop in August, so it is possible that demand may reduce from today’s high levels.

There are few reports of new offers of Greek currants although It is possible that packers may offer some additional quantities in the new year, but any available quantities are likely to remain limited and prices high.