Northern hemisphere dried fruit producers have seen successful harvests and first new crop shipments of Turkish sultanas and raisins and Greek currants have now reached the UK.
This is good news for the UK dried fruit industry where there had been shortages of sultanas and raisins as importers awaited new crop arrivals. However, prices are firm despite a larger dried vine fruit crop in Turkey and a much larger crop of Greek currants.
This reflects the absence of a significant carry-over in both markets and government intervention in Turkey when raw material prices fell below TRY10 (USD1.74) per kilo. Many UK buyers have entered the market, but there remains a feeling that prices could weaken from today’s levels once the initial rush of orders has been completed.
The UK remains the principal export customer for Turkish sultanas and raisins and Greek currants. There is, however, a surprising lack of interest from local industry bodies to develop sales further as the belief continues that new markets such as Asia could represent a better opportunity.
Prices of specially cleaned Turkish standard No 9 sultanas range between USD2,000-2,050 per tonne fob Izmir for shipment through until the end of the year, with Turkish raisins at a premium of USD100-150/tonne on this figure.
Prices of good quality Chinese and Iranian sultanas and raisins are available at a significant discount to this figure and although the longer shipment periods and ongoing political issues may make purchases from these origins less attractive, Turkish exporters need to take care not to push prices too high.
The Greek currant crop is of much better quality this year and volume should exceed 22,000 tonnes. First new prices range between EUR2,550-2,650/tonne (USD2,798-2,908) fob Piraeus for good quality provincials. Farmers are being encouraged to offer their fruit to the major Union, but it is difficult to see where demand will come from for the much larger crop. It must be a good time for Greece to have a marketing campaign to highlight the benefits and quality of Greek currants and to hopefully recover lost sales in the UK market.
First shipments of new season Turkish figs have also taken place with arrivals expected in the next few days. Prices have remained high, but as expected with a much larger crop prices have reduced once first shipments took place. As an indication good quality natural No.6 figs are being quoted between USD4,200-4,400/tonne fob Izmir.
The close proximity to the October 31 deadline for the UK to leave the EU has meant that importers have increased early shipment of all types of dried fruits. However, currency markets have so far remained stable and despite obvious uncertainties buyers appear to be taking a calm view at the moment.