The sudden onset of warmer weather in the UK will divert attention from traditional bakery products containing dried fruit to other more seasonal lines, such as salads and summer recipes. The good news is that UK importers have reported strong pre-Easter sales and virtually no delays either for shipment or at the ports of arrival. The only ongoing difficulty is the continuing fluctuation in the value of sterling against both the euro and the US dollar.
The UK continues to purchase most of its dried vine fruits from Turkey, although there are now significant increases of purchases of different types of vine fruit, such as flame raisins from southern hemisphere producing countries. This trend is likely to continue as buyers look for interesting alternatives to the traditional varieties of dried vine fruits.
Prices of Turkish sultanas and raisins have increased over the past few days, following the reported purchase of 300 tonnes of Turkish sultanas on the local Izmir bourse by Taris’ associate company. This was reported to have increased raw material prices by between USD75-100 per tonne.
Exports of Turkish sultanas and raisins have reached 178,702 tonnes between September 1 2018 and April 13 2019, compared with 184,423 tonnes in the same period last year. This means that there should be sufficient raw material to last until the new crop becomes available in August, but it does seem likely that prices will remain at today’s high levels for the foreseeable future. As an indication, good quality Turkish no 9 sultanas are being quoted between USD2,350-2,400/tonne fob Izmir for shipments through until September.
The Turkish apricot market has also firmed slightly over the past few days, following reports of hail damage between April 14-15 in some growing regions. It is, however, still too early to predict the tonnage of the new crop. It is likely that there will be a significant carry-over of unsold fruit from this year’s crop at the end of the season.
Exports of US raisins between August 2018 and March 2019 have seen a reduction of over 25% at around 38,000 (short) tons compared with 63,500 tons over the same period last year. The recent reduction in the price of Californian raisins should help to increase exports of US raisins, as these continue to be regarded throughout Europe as a premium product. As an indication, select US Thompson seedless raisins are being quoted between USD1.38-1.40 per pound c&f Felixstowe for shipments until October.
Greek currant prices remain unchanged, with the principal difficulty being the complete lack of offers for forward shipment. Where offers can be found, prices for good quality provincial currants range between EUR2,950-3,050/tonne (USD3,305-3,420/tonne) fob Piraeus. Weather conditions in Greece are unseasonably cool, but it is hoped that this year’s crop may exceed 20,000 tonnes, compared with 12,000-13,000 tonnes this year.