The following are predictions/forecasts for the next few months from our suppliers.
Almonds: The market remains firm. The end of February/early March is the critical period in the bloom cycle, where frost can drastically reduce the new crop potential. This normally adds more volatility into the market as traders try to second-guess how the bloom will fair.
Brazils: The situation has tightened even more and the current crop is now completely exhausted and as a result new crop prices have increased quite dramatically. Until the size of the new crop is known it is impossible to see where prices will steady but certainly the first few months of the season will be expensive.
Cashews: This market is firm and fairly steady at the moment and apart from minor fluctuations created by spot demand entering and leaving the market, it looks set to remain at these levels until the new crop.
Hazelnuts: The market has been fairly flat with just sufficient being brought to market by the farmers.
Macadamias: Most origins are very heavily sold with little material to see us through to new crop. Prices have been firming and will continue to do so until April. There is still some volume of industrial grade available, but the most popular grades of 1s, 2s and 4s are becoming very short.
Peanuts: The market has risen considerably in the last few weeks with heavy purchasing from the oil crushers in China. This is a pattern we have seen in past seasons and we would say that we will not see any retrenchment through the season so we would recommend covering requirements now.
Pecans: Due to ever-increasing demand from China prices have risen dramatically and we are now expecting further increases to try to staunch demand.Cracking of new crop is behind schedule and so some delays in shipments are being experienced.
Pine nuts: Prices are still extremely high although they have eased a little from the highs of a month ago. We expect them to stay at these sorts of levels for the rest of the season as it appears there is only 2-3000 mt left.
Pistachios: Once again we are seeing an increasing price scenario on pistachios with significant rises in both US and Iranian costs. We would predict a similar season to last with prices increasing steadily so would recommend covering requirements now.
Walnuts: This is rapidly becoming a nightmare season with reports of defaults by some shippers already. China entered the market heavily as a buyer and this has completely upset the status quo of supply and demand. Prices are high and will go higher.
Pumpkin: The market is still very short of seeds, resulting in few offers. Prices will continue to rise.
Sunflower: Chinese prices still increasing. Some US packers now sold out, so expect market firm until new crop.
Linseed: The GM issue has had a potentially long term effect on Canadian exports of food-grade linseed to the EU. With 1000s of tonnes still in quarantine on the continent, and a ready and willing market just a hop and a skip across the border in the US, Canadian exporters don’t seem to be in any great rush to appease EU concerns. Despite the fact that a pre-shipment sampling protocol has been agreed, many importers are turning to EU seed as more and more end users refuse to accept Canadian. The only real solution for Canadian linseed is for EU authorities to test and agree on a tolerance on the ‘Triffid strain’. Whilst this may be happening I do not think that it will happen quickly, as at the moment this is playing in to the hands of the European farmers and processors increasing economic growth, and in the current climate politics may play a key role. Prices remain high until next crop in Sept/Oct, as buyers are hoovering up any available European seed.
Lentils: Whether red, green or speckled, all are following the same trend – up. The feeling has been, and still is, that the market will ease but not until India’s crop figures come out around March time. The next major factor is Ramadan. It falls in August, and the concern is that the Turkish crop will not quite be ready in time. This is giving all power to the Canadian farmer who is hoarding what stocks they have, as whatever they choose to sell is still fetching a handsome price. Prices may ease slightly in March but the real easing if there is one will be the next crop.
Chick peas: This market is very steady and has not done anything terribly exciting since the Russian figures came out at the beginning of the season.
Peas: After last year’s shortages we are seeing a return to lower prices and easy availability on yellows, greens and marrowfats.
Couscous: The healthy durum wheat crop in Canada has brought the cous cous prices down slightly.
Beans: Not something that immediately sets people’s pulses racing, but has this year. Any Chinese beans are on the rise, some as much as 300-400 dollars a tonne. So many factors are at play – freight rate increases, weather-induced shortages of quality product, higher wages for the Chinese labourer, increased domestic consumption… not to mention Chinese speculators and currency fluctuation. I don’t see Chinese beans easing much until next crop. Other origins also seem to be firming such as Central America and Madagascar. South America still offers great value on Alubias.
Sultanas: Market has weakened recently due to high stocks in Turkey. The market should become more active as a result.
Raisins: With the uncertainty of the export rebate still in the air, raisins prices remain steady.
Currants: With the Greek economy in meltdown, origin prices have firmed up considerably. The forward market remains uncertain.
Apricots: The market is still very firm, and with more volume sales into the US on the horizon, prices will continue to increase.
Figs: The market is still quiet, although prices are remaining steady.
Dates: Good quality fruit is becoming hard to get hold of at origin, making new offers hard to get, with the inevitability of prices going up.
Banana: Prices up in line with increases in world sugar.
Prunes: US prunes still firm, however Southern Hemisphere material now available at lower levels.
Tropicals: The market still very firm due to increases in sugar on low stocks.
Papaya: Very firm due to a real shortage of material.
Pineapple: Prices are still firm.
Mango: Almost sold out now.
Coconut: Freight is the biggest factor in keeping prices up.