6th June 2019 – Warm Summer Weather Helps Advance Mediterranean Dried Fruits

Total exports of Turkish sultanas and raisins are reported to have reached 202,375 tonnes up to May 25, compared with 214,126 tonnes last year.

The average price was USD1,994 per tonne compared with USD1,585/tonne last year. If sales continue at the current level it is estimated total exports will have reached around 250,000 tonnes, or about 25,000 tonnes less than last year.

This week has seen the long Bayram holiday in Turkey between June 3-8 and the local Izmir bourse has been closed during this period. Prices of 2018 (current crop) fruit remain firm, with raw material between quoted between TRY11-12 per kilo (USD1.90-2.06/kg) for type No.9 quality. This price is unlikely to change as there is now very little fruit remaining and attention will focus on the new crop and its availability.

The 2019 crop of Turkish sultanas and raisins is reported to be developing well despite some limited frost damage at the end of April. Estimates of the total quantity this year vary depending on the opinion of the producer or seller concerned. It does seem likely, however, that the total volume of sultanas and raisins will be not less than 300,000 tonnes and could be even higher. First new season offers are now available with prices of specially cleaned No. 9 sultanas quoted between USD1,950-2,050/tonne fob Izmir. First shipments are likely to take place until the end of August or early September. As ever, there are reports of even lower price offers, but it is still risky for sellers to quote aggressively at this stage as there is continuing uncertainty over the value of the Turkish currency and the economy in general and the future position in the UK with the Brexit negotiations.

The Turkish fig crop is reported to be progressing well, with the fig trees in the low-lying areas likely to be harvested first with the mountain figs, which are generally thought to be better quality, following two to three weeks later. Prices of 2018 crop Turkish figs remain unchanged at between USD4,500-4,750/tonne fob Izmir for No.6/No.7 naturals. It is certainly too early for sellers to be quoting prices for new crop but with a much larger crop predicted and a very small carry-in from this year’s crop prices are likely to remain at today’s levels and gradually reduce once first shipments have been made.

Californian raisin prices remain competitive and UK buyers are gradually looking again at Californian raisins as an alternative product to other origins. As reported previously, exports of US raisins to Europe have fallen dramatically following a period of high prices. This may gradually change going forward as California continues to have an excellent reputation for quality and reliability.

News from Greece suggests that the new crop of currants may reach 20,000 tonnes, but with virtually no carry-in from this year and local expectations high, it seems difficult to suggest that prices will fall as quickly as UK buyers may wish. Offers of 2018 crop Provincial currants remain quoted between EUR2,900-3,000/tonne (USD3,260-3,375/tonne) fob Piraeus. It is unlikely that new season offers will be available for some time yet, but it is to be hoped that a degree of realism will result in more realistic price levels for the year ahead.