Exports of Turkish sultanas and raisins have reached 77,635 tonnes from September 1-December 1, slightly down on the 83,311 tonnes shipped in the same period last year, and reflecting the slight increase in prices for the 2017 crop.
Prices of Turkish sultanas remain broadly unchanged over the past week at between USD1,450-1,550 pmt fob Izmir for specially cleaned standard No.9 sultanas. These continue to be good value when compared with the present high prices of raisins and currants and this must result in an increase in demand and a possible firming of prices in the new year.
Available offers of Turkish raisins are limited, with many local exporters struggling to find raw material to meet existing contracts. Where offers can be found, prices are now well in excess of USD 2,000/tonne fob Izmir, which is a big difference from the price of sultanas. Available stocks of darker coloured sultanas such as type No.7 and type No.8 are also limited and this year, may command a premium in price over the better grades.
European buyers might need to look for alternative origins in the coming months to satisfy customer requirements and China, Iran and Uzbekistan are possible alternatives.
Prices of US raisins remain very high, with select grade Thompson seedless raisins quoted between USD1.30-1.35 per lb c&f Felixstowe. Last year saw an increase in exports of US raisins, but the present high prices and lack of availability this season might result in a sharp reduction in the export tonnage this year. Loyal buyers will, however, continue to buy US raisins as a premium product, but where orders are price-driven, other origins or types of fruit are likely to be used as an alternative.
Prices of Turkish dried figs remain high with good quality Lerida figs quoted between USD5,000- 5,500/tonne fob Izmir. Exports of Turkish figs between October 11-December 1 have reached 18,655 tonnes compared with 20,405 tonnes for the same period last year. Again, as in the case of sultanas, exports between November 12-18 are higher this year at 2,123 tonnes, compared with 1,556 tonnes previously. This is surprising as average prices for Turkish figs are higher this year, but the difference may be accounted by the late, first export dates for figs this year.
Exports of Turkish apricots remain strong with 31,592 tonnes exported between August 1-December 1, compared with 25,930 tonnes last year. Prices have eased back, as packers seek to reduce their stocks, but concern continues about the quality of this year’s crop. It seems likely, therefore, that there will be a continuing shortage of the bigger and better quality sized fruit and this will continue to demand a premium in price.
The new year is likely to see continuing shortages of raisins and currants and potential availability issues for other products such as dried figs. The continuing uncertainty over Brexit and the consequent fluctuations in currency will also have an unsettling effect.