25th April 2019 – Reports of Frost in the Sultana Growing Areas of Turkey Have Caused Some Damage

Temperatures in the sultana growing regions around Manisa and Sarigol dropped below freezing between 21 and 22 April. This resulted in a frost which caused some damage to the vineyards and may reduce the total quantity of the new crop of Turkish sultanas and raisins.

THE EU ACCOUNTS FOR OVER 56% OF TURKISH DRIED FRUIT EXPORTS, WITH THE UK TAKING A MASSIVE 39% SHARE OF TOTAL TURKISH EXPORTS.

The good news is that there do not appear to be any further frosts and although the weather in Turkey has been cold and windy, it is unlikely that there will be any further serious problems. The new crop of sultanas and raisins is, however, still expected to exceed 310,000 tonnes, which is a very large crop and should result in new crop prices reducing from today’s high levels.

The EU accounts for over 56% of Turkish dried fruit exports, with the UK taking a massive 39% share of total Turkish exports. The result of the Brexit negotiations is critical for both the UK and Turkey and it is to be hoped that a decision on the future will be made sooner rather than later.

Although it is still too early for local exporters to have an accurate picture of the new crop, some packers are reported to already be offering new crop fruit. As an indication, new crop standard no.9 sultanas have been offered between USD2,200-2,350 per tonne fob Izmir. If the Turkish currency weakens prices are likely to fall further and could perhaps fall below the psychological USD2,000/tonne level.

This year’s Greek currant crop is reported to be progressing well, although there are still several months before fruit will be available for shipment. Prices of good quality provincial fruit continue to be quoted between EUR3,000-3,100/tonne (USD3,360-3,470/tonne) fob Piraeus. The principle difficulty is, however, to obtain any offers are most packers are now fully sold out. Again, as in the case of Turkish sultanas, new crop prices should reduce significantly once the crop has been safely harvested, but it is possible that prices could continue at today’s high levels if the crop is smaller than anticipated.

Exports of Turkish dried figs have reached around 44,000 tonnes and although the 2018 crop had been expected to exceed 80,000 tonnes, it is now believed that the true figure is much smaller, due to quality issues such as an increase in sour and mouldy figs. The average size of the Turkish fig crop has been between 60,000-65,000 tonnes over the past years, but following the availability of new export markets, particularly in Asia, there is likely to be a relative shortage unless the tonnage increases to between 75,000-80,000 tonnes. Prices are broadly unchanged, with good quality natural and Lerida figs quoted between USD5,000-5,100/tonne fob Izmir.

US raisin prices continue to be competitive with offers available between USD1.38-1.40 per pound c&f Felixstowe for Select US Thompson Seedless Raisins. Demand remains limited, perhaps due to the ready availability of Turkish raisins at prices broadly similar to Turkish sultanas. This situation may continue for the coming year, if a larger Turkish vine fruit crop is produced, as there will be ample quantities of Turkish raisins.