Californian Walnuts / Greek Currants
The USDA forecast of 650,000 tons now appears to be way over the mark, with the harvest well underway and in some places getting close to completion. The revised expected yield based on information from packers would suggest approx 592,500 tons.
The shipment report for September was released by the walnut board last week. Substantially down - 24,206 tons compare to 50,288 last September. This is mostly down to the lateness of the crop. Walnut receipts were 102,498 as of September 30th compared to 228,318 tons in the previous September. The October report will be more informative, which will show a full months of shipping compared to the prior year.
Latest estimates suggest that the 2017 Greek Currants crop total 16,000mt, with no carry over from the 2016 crop. 2016 crop was estimated to total 19,000mt, plus a carryover of 4,000mt from the 2015 crop. So total supply of Greek Currants this season, is around 7,000mt lower than the previous season, which has led to the sharp rise in raw material prices, in recent weeks. Most of the major growing regions, have reported reduced yield, including Messinia, Pyrgos/Amalias and Zante (- 40%), compared to last season, and the reduction in Aeghion (Vostizza), is estimated at 20%.
Some growers remain reluctant to sell as they believe that due to the reduced crop, prices will continue to rise, even though they are obliged to agree contracts to sell their currants by the end of November, in order to qualify for their subsidy.
In view of the reduction in supply, it presently looks certain that the 2017 crop will sell out far in advance of the next crop, in September 2018. Therefore, any reduction in raw material prices before the final quarter of 2018, appears very unlikely.