Apricots Market Update
- 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.
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.