It has been a long and hectic year, though I'm glad that 2013 is over and welcoming 2014...
Well, not so much. A lot of information from California, Brazil, Turkey, SE Asia isn't so great.
Please see below regarding market outlook for 2014.
Turkish dried apricots account for almost 80+% of the world’s market. Turkish apricots have mild and sweet taste when compared to US or China, which offers a sharper, more distinct taste. The apricot market in Turkey remains stable for now. The quality of 2012 crop had been leaning towards smaller sizes. Availability for Size #1 was very short. The current crop, 2013 harvest, shows improvement on quality of larger fruit. Size Jumbo and #1 is now in good supply and outlook for 2014 remains stable. The harvest of Apricots in Turkey is from July(early) to October, with shipments to US arriving by November.
- Majority of the prunes originate from US, Chile and Argentina. Prunes, dried plums, are currently in short supply, as there currently is a draught issue plaguing California and western United States(It will be a recurring issue, as noted below). The drier/packers in California are now “off the market”. They’ve cleared their excess inventory and are only holding inventory for contracted quantities. The harvest of Prunes in Argentina/Chile is in March and August/September for US crop.
- Dried banana chips are imported into US from Philippines. The current crop and supply remains stable, after a sharp spike, due to weather related issues. The dried banana chips are available throughout the year.
- Dried cranberries are produced in US, Canada and Chile. The supply and crop from 2012 crop was good, with stable demand, driving the pricing lower during 2013. The 2014 market also seems very stable, with no spikes and/or dips in the foreseeable future. The cranberries are harvested during March/April for Chile and Sept/November for Northern Hemisphere.
- There are a few players that are involved in the Cashew market. Vietnam and India remains top processors in the world, trailed by Brazil. Ivory Coast(Africa) are leaders in RCN(Raw Cashew Nuts). Majority of imports to US originate from Vietnam and India. The market has been stable for the last 3+ months, with everyone (buyers and sellers) expecting the pricing to rise. African crop remains to be seen, though we are expecting a good quality crop. With the current market conditions, any news that adversely affects the market will send market pricing higher.
- And now, we run in to major issues… The US almond crop(covering majority of world production) has hit record production for the last 3 years… with supply still unable to meet the demand. The almond crop has seen increasing(spiking) pricing levels for the last two years. The almonds remains extremely high priced, compared to previous years. With the news of impending draught issues in California has only acerbated the problem. The size of the kernels remains a problem, with virtually no size larger than 27/30 available. There may be relief in sight for 2014 crop as subjective and objective crop estimates become available in March and May. The harvest is in July with August ship dates for new crop. With delays and issues plaguing the industry, we’ve noticed that for the last few years, the new crops have only shipped beginning in September.
- The US walnut is the current leader in production, providing majority of the world. Surprisingly, the walnut market has been quiet with no major market movements post harvest. This may be due to uproar over the almond crops. This does not mean that market pricing is “reasonable” and supply is abundant. At current trading price, many packers and traders feel that pricing may not be sustainable. While we do expect market pricing to ease off a bit in the coming months, China and India are major factors to consider(more on this below). The crop estimates are available during Q2 and Q3, with harvest occurring from early August through October and November for Chandler varieties.
- The US pecan market is at a very high level. US and Mexico are major suppliers, with growing regions in Texas, Georgia and surrounding states. The current pecan market is about $1/lb over last year’s opening market price for new crop. Barring any issues (weather, pests, China…) we may see a gradual easing of the market pricing as we move through 2014. The pecan crop harvest is during Q3, ending in November(Just in time for Thanksgiving/Christmas season!).
- Pistachio market has been on a roller coaster for 2013 season. The pricing differential throughout the year has been +/- $1.50/lb(or about 30%). Currently, the pistachio market is very high, with limited offerings from majority of the packers. The quality of the crop seems to run towards smaller sizing(21/25) and pricing remain firm in the foreseeable future. The pistachio harvest is generally done during late Q3.
Please let me know what your thoughts are on the matter.