9th August 2019 – Slide in Turkish Vine fruit Sales Could be Due to Higher Costs

A source in Izmir, Turkey advises that exports of Turkish sultanas and raisins up until August 3 2019 have reached 241,131 tonnes at an average fob price of USD2,035 per tonne. This compares with 262,588 tonnes at an average price of USD1,614/tonne tonne for the same period last year.

The reduction in sales perhaps reflects the higher raw material cost over the past 12 months, but surely means that there will be very little carry-over from this year’s crop at the start of the new season.

The harvest is due to begin in Turkey in about two weeks’ time, and unfortunately will coincide with the annual religious holiday. This means that first exports may not take place until the second week in September and it is therefore possible that supplies of Turkish sultanas and raisins may be tight for the UK market.

Prices are unchanged with 2018 crop fruit available around USD2,100/tonne fob Izmir for specially cleaned type No. 9 sultanas. The new crop price is considerably less expensive with offers between USD1,850-1,950/tonne fob Izmir.

It is hoped that the new crop will be a good one – possibly exceeding 320,000 tonnes. Much will depend on the weather over the coming weeks and packers are likely to remain cautious until the whole crop is safely harvested and dried.

The news from Greece is much the same with a larger crop of currants expected this year. Early estimates suggest that this may exceed 20,000 tonnes compared with less than 12,000 tonnes last year again. There will be very little carry-over so prices are unlikely to fall dramatically until the whole crop is dried, harvested and first shipments have taken place. Early predictions are that good quality new crop provincial currants could be available at the start of the season between EUR2,600-2,800 (USD2,911-3,134) per tonne fob Piraeus but any offers are speculative at this stage.

US raisin prices remain competitive with some packers offering Select Thompson seedless raisins below USD1.10 per pound c&f Felixstowe for shipments until October. There certainly seems to be an incentive from US packers to try and recapture lost business. Therefore, where there is the possibility of forward orders, packers may be willing to reduce their prices to help clear unsold stocks of raw material. The new crop of US raisins is reported to be progressing well and should be available for shipment towards the end of October. Prices traditionally firm a little as negotiations take place between farmers and packers and further news is awaited.

The continuing weakness of sterling caused by the uncertain political situation in the UK is starting to have a major impact on dried fruit prices in the UK as virtually all dried fruits are purchased in US dollars with the exception of the currants which are generally sold in euros. Sterling has seen a reduction in value of almost 10% over the past months which must in due course result in higher prices for dried fruits, both for retail and manufacturing customers.