Drought in Argentina

We have been made aware by our partner supplier of Popcorn in Argentina that there has been a drought in the growing region.

A newspaper article titled ‘A campaign at its limits’. published in LA NATION on 10th February 2018, confirms the huge drought taking place in Argentina.

As a consequence, all corn crops will be reduced in supply.

date:  Feb 23, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on Drought in Argentina
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More

2018 Chilean Prune crop progressions

The 2018 Chilean prune crop is forecast at 80-85 thousand MT. The estimated carry over from last crop should be around 10 thousand MT.

The 2018 prune crop has shown optimal state across the season. Beneficial conditions prevailed throughout the winter with many chilling hours, during spring the bloom was massive and growers expect a heavier crop with good fruit size.

The most important volumes of the 2018 harvest should be concentrated between 60/70 and 70/80 u/lb. In fact, it should be taken into account that the average size of the 2017 crop which was 78 u/lb.

Harvest is estimated to start on mid-February in the central valleys near Santiago. The expectation is that the first lots for 2018 crop will be available for shipment during the end of March and/or early April.

Prices should remain fairly similar to 2017, since growers are expecting similar or greater returns from the packers/exporters, especially due to the downward trend shown by the US dollar versus the Chilean peso in recent months.

date:  Feb 12, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on 2018 Chilean Prune crop progressions
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More

January Shipment Report – Almond Update

Yesterday the Almond Board released the January position report. California shipped 193.5 million pounds, up 16.7% over last year’s 165.8 million lbs. This is a new record for the month of January, and the fourth month in a row that California has posted a new record. Domestic and Export shipments also set records, with Domestic shipping 60.18 mm lbs, up 5.0% from last years 57.29 mm, and export shipping 133.32 mm lbs, up 22.9% from last year’s 105.51 mm lbs.

China again performed well, taking 8.96 mm lbs compared to last January 3.86 mm lbs. (this being for post CNY demand) and up 12% for the year to 121.29 mm lbs. India shipped pretty much flat to last January at 14.91 mm lbs, and still puts them up 33% on the year at 145.33 mm lbs. Western Europe as a whole also performed well, taking 59.81 mm lbs, up from last Januarys 50.60 mm lbs, and up 10% total on the year at 299.35 mm lbs. The Middle East finally posted positive shipments of 15.23 mm lbs, up from last Januarys 10.98 mm lbs with Turkey leading the way.  It seems the reduction in Turkey is having an immediate shape on nearby and likely long-term demand.

Leading up to this report, most everyone in the industry was again expecting large shipments. Overall the report executed expectations, but the receipts may be a surprise to most. The industry added just shy of 35 mm lbs, which is quite low compared to last Januarys 74 mm lbs. This puts total receipts at 2.242 bb lbs, shy of the 2.3+ bb lbs many expecting the crop to final.  Today our best inference suggest a crop between 2.25 and 2.3 bb lbs. New sales were also strong at 173 mm lbs., compared to last January at 159 mm lbs. While sales are not a record month they do continue to put shippers well ahead of last year, e.g., today vs last year they have shipped and committed 225 mm lbs ahead.

We are now half way through the marketing year, and have shipped a total of 1.232 bb lbs, up 10.34% from last years 1.116 bb lbs. If the industry matches last years shipments for the remaining six months (which seems feasible), it will ship a total of 2.216 bb lbs. This would be more than the 2017 crop produces after loss/exempt are taken into consideration (likely 3% +), cutting into the already marginal potential carryover we will have going into next year. While this may be too early to discuss potential carry over, it will be on people’s minds going forward. It is not too early to look to February and shipments expectations were strong even at mid-February – we think 165mm lbs plus is likely – maybe more. We seem to be off to a slow but steady sales start we have seen a return of China and India inquiries. Last year sales were no easy task at 143.6 mm lbs as demand started to pick up during and post bloom. At the same time, the five year average is just over 108 million lbs.

Post report  the industry is more obviously focused on is bloom. Bloom in southern California has started in the early stages, and in further north is still expected to start more widespread in the next 7-10 days. This is earlier than the ‘norm’, while California has also seen warm temperatures recently, and has a forecast for some warmer days ahead. Some fear this could create a ‘flash bloom’, which typically does not bode well for massive yielding crops but only time will tell. With the acreage today we simply need an average crop to have a record again.

Rainfall and snowfall totals are also still at very low levels on an average, with not much changes expected in the foreseeable future. At this stage, more snow is obviously welcome, but more rain may do more harm than good to the developing bloom.

date:  Feb 12, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on January Shipment Report – Almond Update
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More

Apricots Market Update


2017 Crop

  • Exports in January were 7,836 tons, compared to 6,429 tons, an increase of 22%
  • Exports year to date are 59,363 tons compared to 49,228 tons, an increase of 20.6%
  • Average export price for whole apricots for January was $2978/ton FOB compared to $3351 last year.

The 20% plus increased export trend continued in January. If there were enough fruit to continue this trend to the end of the season (which we doubt), year end exports would reach 103,000 tons with a further 15,000 tons of domestic consumption. We believe over all supply is around 10,000 tons short of this. Prices increased sharply again during January as packers struggle to cover short positions in an illiquid market. Size 5 and larger are now more or less sold out. The price differential between size 1 and size 8 is now $2500 per ton, but small sizes being the only fruit left is now starting to increase in price as well. Under normal circumstances we would ex

pect to see the price increase put the brakes on shipments, however, a lot of business, particularly retail has been writ


ten at the lower levels, and this will keep the shipping numbers somewhat solid for the rest of the season, the only caveat we would put to this is the possibility of packers being unable to find acceptable quality fruit to ship in the second half of the season. The price has risen 70% since the unrealistically low speculative opening prices, and defaults are being reported. We conclude that the crop will be exported in its entirety, and prices should remain firm.

2018 Crop

Here are a few observations

  • The winter has been mild, on average 5 C or more warmer than usual. The trees are waking up early. The forecast for the next 2 weeks is again 5 to 10 C warmer than the average for February. An early bloom is now more likely than not.
  • Eastern Turkey is facing the worst drought for 44 years. Dams are below 30% with some less than 10% where they should be full at this time of the year. There is barely any snowpack. Unless we see massive rain in the spring, many farms without deep well water will not have access to irrigation.
  • The apricot acreage continues to decrease as the younger generation turn their backs on subsistence apricot farming. Investors are deterred from new plantings given the small size of farms, the high frost risk and below cost of production prices frost free years.
date:  Feb 08, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on Apricots Market Update
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More

Figs Market update


Year to date exports are 34,860 tons, compared to 35,207 tons last year, an decrease of barely 1%.

Average prices year to date are $4507/ton FOB compared to $3783 last year, an increase of 19%.

Price related decrease in demand in traditional large markets, Germany (-16%), France (-9%), Italy (-23%) and the UK (-13%) were offset by growth in the newer markets notably the USA (+33%) and Asia, mainly destined for China (+26%). The switch in recent years from seasonal to year round consumption, combined with the smaller crop this year and rise in demand from the USA and China should keep the market firm. We believe Turkey is close to 100% committed for the 2017 crop, and that buyers who are not covered by the end of February are unlikely to find availability until new crop in October.

date:  Feb 08, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on Figs Market update
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More

Fruit Field report February 2018

Vine Fruit:

Limited volumes of vine fruit has been delivered and the quality is good. The crop size is still predicted to be around 55 000 – 60 000 tonnes and the weather has been good thus far.

Although scattered showers have been reported in some regions, it has not had a significant impact on quality.

The hot weather and dry wind will assist producers to dry product in half the period vs previous year. The Orange River has sufficient water and the drought is not causing any issues in this region. The biggest concern is the impact of the drought in Vredendal where all the currants are produced. Initially the view was that the drought may reduce the volumes by 25-35%, but this could be as high as 50%.  Some producers do not have any water for irrigation available, resulting in significant crop losses.

The crop is currently being harvested and we will advise once we have a better view of the available volumes. We will inform you soon on the new crop prices for the vine fruit once we feel confident on crop size/quality.

Tree Fruit:

The apricot crop has been the smallest in many years.
Peaches and pears should be available to service the market and prices have been given.
Mango is also available, but customers have to contract soon to ensure sufficient supply. The fresh product is available, but dryers will be hesitant to dry if product has not been contracted.

date:  Feb 07, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on Fruit Field report February 2018
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More

Sweetened Dried cranberries

Prices for Sweetened Dried Cranberries (SDCs) have continued to rise slowly in recent weeks.

After a long period of oversupply and low prices, a smaller than expected crop in the U.S. and Canada and ongoing legislation to limit supply continues to lift prices from their recent lows.

There is also an availability issues on Whole SDCs, with some packers reporting first available material as late as July already. We expect a steady firming in prices for Whole SDC especially.

Lead-times for most suppliers are 8 weeks or more for conventional Sliced SDC.

date:  Feb 05, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on Sweetened Dried cranberries
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More

Californian Walnut update

California still has limited availability on major inshell walnut varietals. Due to the record number of high heat days (100+ F // 38+ C) this year, many packers are opting to shell what they would normally sell as inshell product. Packers can better control for heat related damage during the shelling/sorting process, so we expect most packers to move on to selling their shelled walnuts faster than usual this year.

Prices from the USA seem to be on the return. December shipments were in line with last season, being roughly 1% above December 16. Despite these positive figures, are the year to date shipments still far behind last year (inshell exports -30.7% / shelled exports -8.2%).

Californian suppliers are eager to move some stocks, providing some relief to the market. This downwards trend might be slowed down by the increased import levels in Turkey, as described above. So far Turkey has been one of the most important absent buyers, this might change due to the more favourable import rates. The January shipment report will provide more insight in the actual impact on the demand from Turkey. Looking back on the Turkish imports of last season, which were YTD at 111 million inshell pounds in comparison to 57 million inshell pounds this year, the impact might be more than just a drip on a hot plate.

date:  Feb 05, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on Californian Walnut update
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More

Hazelnut update

The market remains quite with very little activity. There are limited offers at 20 TL for raw 11/13 mm Kernels, buyers are mainly domestic.

With suppliers well sold and most manufacturers well covered we would expect the market to remain quite but stable.

The next point of interest for both producers and manufacturers will be the flower count later in February bringing the first signs of what might be expected from the new crop!

date:  Feb 02, 2018 comments:  Comments Off on Hazelnut update
by:  Chris Wilding category:  Latest News Read More