Author Archives Sian Koster

First New Crop Sultana & Currant Shipments On The Way

Shipments of Turkish sultanas are underway and expected to land in the UK at the end of this month.

There is an exceptionally high demand for new material due to the temporary shortage of unsold raw material in the UK. The harvest in Turkey is ongoing despite some reports of intermittent rainfall, although has not affected the quality of the crop. However, the rain will affect the colour of the fruit, darkening the skin and increasing the quantity of type No.8 sultanas against type No.9 and type No.10 quality.

Early reports have shown that the percentage of fruit dried as raisins by Turkish farmers this year will be less than the previous year. On following this, there may be a slightly higher difference in price for Turkish raisins. Currently, raisins are commanding a USD 100-150/Tonne premium over sultanas.

There have been positive reports that the first shipments of Greek Currents are leaving the port of Piraeus. There has been information that the shipment is of good quality and quantity with an expected volume of around 20,000 – 22,000 tonnes.

UK demands for Greek currents are steady. The UK market have recently drifted away from currents due to higher prices and lack of availability. However, Currents are a traditional ingredient for a number of seasonal lines, such as Christmas puddings and mincemeat so sales should intensity up to the run up to Christmas.

It has been reported that China’s crop of raisins and sultanas this year is larger, however this has coincided with an increase domestic demand. China has been a growing market for California raisins but at present duty is payable at over 50% on US raisins so sales have slumped. These have been replaced by exports from Uzbekistan and Chile, which have a nil duty agreement with China.

Imports of Chinese raisins to the EU and the UK market are likely to be modest this year as, despite a lower price, UK buyers prefer the quicker shipment and ready availability of fruit form Turkey. South Africa, California and Australia are likely to continue to supply the UK market with premium grade fruit, albeit at a higher price.

US raisin crop for this year is expected to be smaller this could create some upward pressure on the price of the US raisins. however, so far, the demand from the UK market has not increased dramatically so prices remain steady with select grade Thompson Seedless raisins available between USD 1.05 – 1.06 PER PINT C&F Felixstowe.

We have seen a slight improvement in the value of sterling against both the Dollar and the Euro over the past few days. This improvement will help kick start the new season for the UK dried Fruit market but there is continued uncertainty with the end of October Brexit Deadline.

date:  Sep 24, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on First New Crop Sultana & Currant Shipments On The Way
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Walnut Market Report September 2019

Across the board 2018 Indian walnut crop is almost sold out, meaning shortly we will be getting into the coming crop with negligible stocks both with farmers and exporters. First arrivals of new crop are expected around the last week of September 2019.Shaking news has come in with regards to 2019 crop. Very cold weather in Kashmir Valley across April and May, the blossom of all fruit trees including nuts like walnuts has been severally affected. The crop appears to be not more than 60% of a normal crop. The quantities available of 2019 crop from Indian walnuts will be quite restricted.

The Indian government have imposed penal duty on Californian almonds and walnuts. And now the rate of import duty on Californian walnuts is effectively 122%. Due to imposition of very high import duties over previous year imports, there will be strong domestic demand for Indian walnut kernels particularly of Light grades at reasonably high prices.

Diwali will fall on October 27th 2019 in India, and due to the scarcity of alternatives to Kashmiri walnuts, the suppliers of the same shall increase their prices making offers unfeasible before this rush slows down. Thus, all early deliveries of walnuts will be geared to meet Indian domestic demand and there will be very few quantities available for shipment during October/November 2019. The earliest shipments will be only from second half of November 2019 onward.

Due to mentioned reasons we expect prices to open at levels far higher than last crop prices.

date:  Sep 12, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Walnut Market Report September 2019
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Turkish Apricot Update September 2019

  • Exports in August were 6,411 tons, compared to 7,546 tons last year
  • Average price for diced apricots was $2262, average price for whole apricots was $2720

The First shipment of new crop is in, although slightly below expectations. This can probably be due to Turkeys national holidays that occurred in the middle of August meaning some packers did not start processing new crop until the end of august when the national holidays were over.

News is in that prices for sulphured apricots have firmed $100 to $200 since the opening however have no stabilized as harvest yields were lighter than expected.

Much like the sulphured apricots the lira has also stabilized over the past few weeks, and inflation rates seem to be decreasing. The banking situation is also easing with serious packers having no problems obtaining export credits.

The shortage of natural and organic apricots has rather has disturbed the markets, and prices for both have risen sharply.

This shortage of natural apricots has been caused due to the past few years low prices. This low pricing was apparent due to a high number of blemishes in the crops that growers sought to disguise by making natural apricots. Prices for natural apricots subsequently fell below the sulphured prices. However, as there were very few blemishes on this crop, growers had no incentive to make naturals. In the case of organics, the main organic growing areas of Dogansehir and Akcadag were affected by frosts.

date:  Sep 11, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Turkish Apricot Update September 2019
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Turkish Vine Fruit Update

Last week our procurement and technical team spent a number of days visiting our suppliers of Raisins & Sultanas in Turkey to discuss and view the very beginning of 2019 harvest.

Having visited some of the same vineyards as last year it’s clear that the quality of this crop will be better than last year as long as we don’t experience any rain in the next 5 weeks. The damages on the vines were nowhere near as extensive or wide spread as last year. Damages last year meant it took between 5 to 6 kg of fresh to equate to 1kg of dried, this year it should be back to the 4kg fresh to 1kg dried levels of previous years.

The number of bunches per vine and the subsequent berry count per bunch are also looking good in comparison to last year. The physical size of the berries do look smaller when comparing but this doesn’t always equate to a smaller dried berry. The expectation is that the official Turkish Standards berry counts will remain as the same but the reality of what is packed will be counts hitting the middle to higher end of those levels.

So given that it looks like we’re in for a better quality crop what does that mean we should expect for new crop tonnage and pricing?

Well on Thursday last week the Ministry of Agriculture announced the official crop estimation at 300,000 tonnes against 261,000 tonnes in 2018, an increase of around 14%. You might think that’s good news but when expectation has been for a crop to be hitting 320 to 330,000 tonnes it does mean even though there’s a sizable increase it has tempered expectations of immediate price decreases. This announcement has understandably put the brakes on new sales as packers want to see how the market reacts and how quickly farmers will deliver their material. Whilst also announcing the estimate the ministry also declared that they will support the market/farmer by buying raw material at 10 Turkish Lira per kg for STD 9 sultanas. They will only enter the market if prices start to be traded lower than that, a number of growers were expecting 9 to 9.5 TL/kg prior to the announcement. As we’ve had two and a bit days of trading locally in Turkey since the announcement of the estimation we have seen prices open at 10 TL/Kg for STD 9 sultanas as expected, the TMO (government) remain inactive at present.

Farmers will be happy at this level if it continues in the longer term but that’s a big if. Something that’s not necessarily easy to predict if it will be the case.

Over the last 12 months we’ve had to closely monitor the economical situation in Turkey regarding the huge devaluation of the Lira against the USD and monitor any potential political powder kegs that might have an impact. We’ve gone through potential fallout with President Trump regarding Russian weapon systems, fallout with Trump over the detention of a US Pastor based in Turkey, internal uproar at the challenge of the Istanbul Mayoral election result and the huge increases in interest rates paid domestically (USD from 4% to 14% & Lira from 18% to 40%). The outlook for Turkey at the moment is positive in the fact that the rhetoric around Turkey coming out of the US is now of a fairly conciliatory tone, the political situation in Turkey is fairly stable after the result of the re-run Istanbul election was immediately accepted by President Erdogan and the interest rates have fallen back close to previous levels (USD 6% & Lira 20%).

We’re hopeful that after a number of turbulent years the number of influencing factors on pricing is going to be much more predictable and in line with previous years. Huge variances on raw material prices, interest rates and exchange rates do the stability of pricing no favour. This stability is something the farmers, processors, importers and customers crave but it’s difficult to keep everyone happy.

One variance we know we’re going to face is less of a carryover of old crop into new, which will counteract any increase in new crop size. The carryover of 2017 into 2018 was circa 30,000 tonnes whereas 2018 into 2019 is expected to be less than 10,000 tonnes, thus making 2018 available material 291,000 tonnes against 310,000 tonnes this year. Exported material from Sept 2018 to end August 2019 is due to hit 265-270,000 tonnes alongside a domestic market usage of 30,000 tonnes. In theory the expected carryover and new crop estimate should just be enough to meet supply for the coming season, if the new crop estimate figure can be believed.

The demand for new crop shipments is going to be particularly huge over the coming 8 weeks as shippers/importers look to restock an empty market due to the expected price easing. We have seen enquiries from a number of importers in France, Germany & Holland for material on the spot as they are waiting for new crop to arrive and have to keep their customers going. Prices are certainly not going to decrease in the short term.

date:  Aug 28, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Turkish Vine Fruit Update
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

News on Turkish VS Californian Raisins

There has been obvious discussion recently covering raisins, specifically Turkish. It has been highlighted that the United Kingdom are not favourable of Californian raisins due to there large premium.

However, with Californian Raisin prices equaling out with Turkeys Raisin prices, it is worth considering that customers in the United Kingdom may considering running back to the golden state Raisins, conspiring with its extensive marketing possibilities and better flavour profile.

date:  Aug 02, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on News on Turkish VS Californian Raisins
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Walnut Market Update

News is in that the walnut crop is progressing nicely. It is predicted by most industry experts that the crop will be between 680,000-710,000 tons. The California Walnut Handlers held a meeting where discussions and estimates were submitted with regards to their on crop, when collated together it was an estimated of  691,000 tons of new crop. Last year’s crop was 672,000 tons so the 2019 crop is expected to be slightly larger in quantity. However, this is just an estimate, please note the official estimate performed by NASS will be made at the end of August.

The Chandler crop looks to be mostly strong, although there is some inconsistency from region to region. Howards look good in some orchards and well below last year in others. Tulare should be down after a very strong season last year.

Potential harvest has been affected by the cool weather in the spring, delaying the process. the weather has been mild for most of the summer until recently when the temperature reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit, this excessive heat can affect the quality of the crop.

Prices on inshell have increased around 10 cents per pound due to strong demand for first shipments from Turkey and Middle East.  Most sellers have been patient this summer waiting to see how the trees would develop before beginning to market their crop.

date:  Jul 31, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Walnut Market Update
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Pumpkin Seed Market Update

Pumpkin Seed

The total planted area of Shine Skin Pumpkin Seeds has been recorded as reduced by 20-30% in 2019.

However, due to good weather conditions in North East China there is a chance that the new crop production could be of similar quantities as the 2018 crop. Although this good news, the 2018 crop is almost finished, whereas this time in 2017 there was still a lot of crop left.

The China and US trade war has made the Chinese pumpkin seed business into the USA harder. The USA and Australia are still the main importer for Chinese pumpkin seeds, while now European market is quite slow.

Farmers have a higher expectation of this year’s crop, this has been supported through rumors that contractual price with farmers has been raised from 11RMB/kg to 13RMB/kg, which means about 300 USD higher compared with last years open price.

Facing this, it is expected that the open price for this years new crop pumpkin seed kernels should be around 3000-3300usd/mt FOB Dalian Port. Please note this is not for certain, indication only.


GWS pumpkin seed kernels

The planted area of GWS Pumpkin seeds has been heavily reduced in Asia, now in West Inner Mogolia, most of the lands are used for sunflower seeds and hempseeds, while in Xinjiang the lands are used for watermelon seeds and also sunflower seeds. It has been rumoured that farmers have lost interest in GWS Pumpkin seed due to the low price, and slow market in 2018. Now there is a lot of 2018 GWS material left in the market.

date:  Jul 30, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Pumpkin Seed Market Update
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

New Crop Fig Update

The harvest of Figs is estimated to not start for another 3 weeks and a second harvest will take place in the second half of August for the lowland orchards, and early September for mountain figs.

It has been said that the number of figs per branch seems higher than last year, typically there should be 4-5 figs per branch but now there are 6-7 in average.

Last year was no exception, but the rains and humid weather in August destroyed 30-40% of the crop. Due to this, prices were expected to be lower.

There are many reasons that the prices will be higher in early shipments;

  • No carry over of 2019 crop
  • Big demand of local market in August – September (because of ashura, a traditional Turkish dessert)
  • Big demand of foreign markets (almost zero stock in the clients)
  • 20% weaker Euro currency comparing to September 2019
  • 25% increase in workers’ salary and other cost items

Furthermore, there are concerns emerging over the past few days that pollination was not good, and due to this many of the fruits appear to not be developing, if this is correct the crop quantity will less than expected.

It’s true that caprification was not good in some areas, but the remaining quantity on the trees is still more than enough.

As always, the final tonnage and quality of the crop will be heavily influenced by the weather in August and September.


date:  Jul 29, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on New Crop Fig Update
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Dried Apricot New Crop Market Update

News is in across this week that dried Apricot new crop is of a good quantity. The new crop has been recorded as a minimum of 3 weeks delay due to the cool weather during the ripening and drying period.

There are big disputes with regards to the crop size and quality. Most farmers are reporting that their dried yield is much more smaller that it was anticipated. Most of the farming complaints are discussion of the below.

Plenty of fruit on trees however, after harvesting they have witnessed that actually fresh fruit amount was less than it seems to be . This complaint seems to be relevant in the orchards that produce mostly medium and small size apricots.

Despite the above discussions, it is predicted that there will not be any major weight losses in theses specific orchards growing mainly #5, 4# 7# and 8#. The general consensus amongst farmers is a weight loss of 5% with generally good quality.

On following this, Some growers are debating that although they had normal amount of fruit on their trees and the size of the fruit seemed to be quite big , the actual outcome after drying much smaller that it was expected. This was made evident in the weighing process, usually they obtain 1kg of dried fruit after drying 4kg of fresh fruit, however, this season 6-7 kg of fresh fruit was needed to obtain 1kg of dried fruit. This complaint was common amongst larger fruit growing orchards.

These are considerable weight losses. These orchards fruit mostly produced sizes # 2 or # 3 instead of Jumbo or # 1. It is widely agreed  that weight loss in these orchards is up-to  15-20%. Ripening of larger sized apricots takes a considerably longer time than other sizes. İt is believed that this year that these fruits were harvested earlier than they should have been.

For this reason dry material amount (sugar content) was less than usual and during drying weight loss was more than usual.

Considering the above, this season sugar content of the Dried Apricots is lower than usual. And sugar is the main preservative. This may contribute towards serious fermentation problems, especially low SO2.  It is advised that clients must choose suppliers who provide quality drying facilities to avoid any fermentation problems .

Current information suggests that 2019 Crop is mostly Size # 4 , # 3 and # 2 and supply of Industrial quality is very limited .

To conclude on all of the above circumstances;

it is predicted that there will be 10-15% less quantity than estimated

Prices of industrial quality, diced , small sizes ( Size # 6 included ) will be higher.

It will be very hard to obtain Jumbo size and S# 1.

The Price gap between sizes will be smaller

It is expected that there will not be a rush from the supply side and demand will always be higher than so we estimate  that prices will be in a  ascending trend during the whole season.

date:  Jul 23, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Dried Apricot New Crop Market Update
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More

Pecan Market Update

Current Market Conditions

Shipments have continued at a steady rate though Q3. It is apparent that many Buyers are favoring purchasing on a spot basis rather than contracting across the remainder of the year. Prices have steadied or strengthened depending on the size of the kernel with halves displaying limited availability in the majority of improved sizes. Pecan prices remain scattered for the current crop with decent positions for most sizes.

Tree nut crop projections

The past month has been many early predictions for the almond, walnut, and pecan crops. All three are estimated to decrease or produce a similar size crop when compared to the last season.

The first two estimates for the pecan crop (the tri-state and Texas growers association) have estimates for the US crop produce to 120,655 tons (266 million lbs.) and 116,677 tons (257 million lbs) respectively. If correct, the Us crop will be of similar size to the previous seasons.

Another historically short crop has been predicted to occur, reasons for this include: decreasing production in the native crop, destroyed south-eastern acreage from the 2018 hurricanes, and decreased production out of the state of Texas. The westerns US growing regions continue to produce at a steady rate, but this increase is overshadowed by decreased production in the east.

Market Forecast

This season projections remain similar; improvements on pecan halves will persist to strengthen and pecan pieces will likely remain in an open position. However, there it is a likelihood that the pecan piece position will decrease and prices could strengthen in light of another possible short crop. Q4 could see a slight increase in all pecan prices.

date:  Jul 23, 2019 comments:  Comments Off on Pecan Market Update
by:  Sian Koster category:  Latest News Read More