Sultana/Raisin Market Report May 2020

BCG is pleased to bring you a reader-interest piece provided to give growers a snapshot of a different agricultural market.

The monthly market update has been provided by our newest market correspondent Ronald Raisin. Ronny has his finger on the pulse of all things dried fruit and is here to give you the inside run on the market trends and what to expect when you head to the trading tables this month. Stay safe and stay informed.

BCG is pleased to bring you a monthly market update from our newest correspondent Ronny Raisin. 

Wet weather in Mildura has continued to hamper the harvest. Harvest is estimated to be 70-80% completed, with most early season sultanas harvested and in the shed. Later varieties like Summuscat, Sunglo and currants left on the vine will be the most affected. Prior to the rain on 29/4 it was assumed that there would be considerable darkening of the fruit, which makes it less appealing to the export market, however after 7 – 10 days of cold weather following the rain, it is highly likely that there will be considerable yield losses, both in the vineyards and in the factory due to damage caused harvesting high moisture fruit.

Taking this into account, I expect the sultana crop will struggle to eclipse last years total of 15,000MT, however exports are likely to be well below last years total of ~4700MT, due to the low proportion of light fruit. It has been a very tough season for the sultana growers of Sunraysia, who have faced a hot summer, high water prices and now a wet harvest. Unfortunately, this will likely be the final straw for a lot of smaller growers who are nearing retirement age, with a valuable water asset.

In Turkey, we have exited the bud-burst stage, which is the major frost risk stage, and early crop estimates for the August/September harvest are around the same as the 2019 harvest at a touch over 300,000MT. Turkish growers, who often hold back a large portion of their harvest, to hedge against a volatile Turkish Lira and therefore cost of inputs have begun releasing their stocks. This has happened at the same time as the Coronavirus risk-off trade has led to a sharp decline in the Turkish Lira and as a result prices ex Turkey are at season lows. There has been some increased export demand over the past 2 months due likely to Iran’s struggles with COVID-19 and consumers panic buying leading to a faster draw down of contracts. This looks to have subsided now and we expect Turkish prices to trend sideways to slightly lower as we approach new crop.

US prices have been stable to slightly higher in USD terms, with suppliers unwilling to speculate on the size of the new crop at this stage. Prices have come into line with prices from Turkey for Type 7 sultanas which are regularly substituted for raisins, however due to the FTA with the US, Californian Raisins remain cheaper into Aus. The difference is marginal in NZ. Chilean and South African prices remain higher than competing origins, as they focus on more niche and high-quality markets.

Good luck,

Ronny

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