Worldwide and traditionally, the months of October and November, in preparation for the festivity-month of December, are quite active as far as dried fruit- and nutmarkets are concerned.
However and so far, we are to understand that, as far as raisins are concerned, it is more quiet than usual, in buying and selling of Turkish as wel as in Californian raisins.
That is quite strange, to put it mildly.
It is common knowledge that Turkey has a small crop, this season, meaning about (215,000 tons) which is 30 percent less than in normal years, so to say. Luckely enough, USA/California is compensating this shortfall to a certain extend, by having a very good crop (quality- and quantity-wise) of 10/13 percent more than the year before. Despite the above and trying to be logic, the result of the two means that there are less raisins available than the year before.
In other words, in total, there is less supply than demand as far as the two big suppliers are concerned.
This, normally, should mean that buyers will better be sure than sorry and take some/good coverage. Again, obviously they don’t, thusfar.
What does that mean?
We know meanwhile that Iran, despite earlier information, had a good crop (about 130.000 tons exportable) and will certainly be strongly pushing on the market. China as well, seems to go for a 5 percent better crop, at least and of course India will also try and have their share. Those are, in principal, positive factors.
Perhaps buyers are taking courage out of it and are waiting for possible lower levels. Moreover, there is another argument on which the raisin-industry should keep an eye on and that is the question whether or not consumption is still growing, world-wide.
One should not forget that raisin-prices, in general, have risen over the past 6/7 years by almost 70/80 percent. Although prices have come down already substantially, we are still at pretty high levels and that could be reason enough for the final consumer to go for alternatives.
To make things more complicated :……having tried to clarify the current situation in a certain way, we should well realize that if raisin-prices will decrease further, raisins could no longer be attractive for the USA/Californian farmer, (think of his increasing costs) and as a result the cutting of vines might go on, even in a more drastic way in favor of nut-trees, although a fact is that also prices for a.o. almonds went down quite considerably, of late.
Taking everything together, this year’s circumstances in California turned out in a very positive way which resulted in a pretty good crop (despite the increased number of vines being cut) but what shall happen next season if weather-circumstances should not be that favourable and the total acreage is again smaller.?
Anyway, in South Africa, the circumstances are still very good and nightfrost is not a big issue anylonger, we say carefully. Provided nothing adverse will happen any more, we look forward to a good crop (tonnage- and quality-wise).
Nevertheless, South Africa needs another month to say yes or no to those who opt again for the South African raisin.
Summarizing, supply and demand are/were a bit out of balance because of the disappointing crop in Turkey but China, Iran, South Africa could possible take care of this shortage..
Latest news: Chile had recently very low temperatures and snowfall, so far they are expecting a shortfall in the crop of 5 percent. Turkish prices is on the move and so is the interest of buyers.
Time will learn.