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Quarterly Commodity Market Update
Last Updated: January 17, 2013
Apricots: The apricot crop looks to be stable. However, apricots are still substantially higher than years ago because of new regulations between the government and farmers in Turkey controlling costs.
Almonds: The new almond crop has not been of the quality expected nor have the larger sizes been readily available. The numbers are substantially down from what was projected, and quality is low compared to other years. Pricing for almonds is expected to remain higher than last year.
Banana Chips: Due to a Typhoon that swept through the Philippines late last year which did significant damage to the banana trees, the banana chips have spiked in pricing and are expected to remain high for the reminder of 2013.
Cherries: Cherries are usually not on this report, but have had unprecedented changes occur to them that they need to be talked about. The tart cherries have basically doubled in price since earlier in 2012, and in 2013 will most likely not be available. An early spring warm-up created early blossoms on the trees which was followed by several days of substantial cold that has decimated the crop in Michigan where most tart cherries are grown. It is estimated that only 10% of the crop will be viable. Pricing will be extreme until new crop, and availability is in question. The Bing cherries will probably increase due to the pressure from the tart cherries; however, most Bing cherries are grown on the west coast and should be available.
Cocoa: The cocoa market has turned around. Cocoa butter has been in more demand and has risen in price while the powder has in turn decreased. Cocoa powder is at a very low price level. Oil and sugar have decreased in price reducing the cost of compound chocolate. However, with the higher cost of cocoa butter, real chocolate is still firm.
Coconut: Coconut pricing had started to retreat as more had become available. However, a Typhoon late last year has caused damage to some coconut trees and the market has started to go up again. Coconut pricing is expected to increase going forward.
Cashews: Cashews were on the decline, but an extended drought in Brazil has put pressure on the cashew market. Expect cashew pricing to move higher as the new year progresses.
Oats: Oats are still higher than a year ago, just like many grains, but seem to have stabilized at the moment. Pricing should remain relatively steady, but higher.
Peanuts: The Peanut market has finally eased and should continue to do so as a very large and healthy crop was harvested last year. However, to compete with other profitable crops such as corn and cotton, the farmers required more to entice them to plant peanuts. Pricing for peanuts is down, but we will not see it back to 2011 levels.
Pecans: Export demand for pecans has lessened and the pecan harvest was large along with substantial carry-in. All pecan pricing will be coming down considerably, especially the pieces. The halves will hold a much higher premium than pieces through 2013.
Pineapple/Papaya/Mango: Tropical fruit pricing remains firm due to high demand, and a weaker US dollar. Also, the Thai government has increased the minimum wage for the country adding continued cost to the production of these fruit items.
Pistachios: California pistachios continue to remain high in price and are climbing. Poor harvests in the Middle East have created strong demand for U.S.A. product to be exported to Europe, where normally Middle Eastern product would be shipped. Pistachios are going to be expensive throughout 2013.
Raisins: New crop raisins have again moved up in price. The new crop volume was less than most years. There continues to be a strong demand from wineries and for table grapes, and yet there are diminishing vineyards. Farmers see a better future in tree nuts, and some are tearing out their vineyards. Very few, if any, farmers are adding vineyards. The future for raisin pricing does not look good. On the bright side, it still remains the least expensive dried fruit ingredient available.
Sugar: The sugar market continues to lower. The beet harvest was very large and so too was the cane harvest in the U.S.A. World stockpiles have increased to cover demand, and pricing continues to soften.
Walnuts: There was a significant decrease in walnut pricing last fall due to China reselling product back into the market place. Add to this the fact that the harvest was larger than expected. These two facts have helped lower the market. However, this is being balanced by weaker crops coming from China and Eastern Europe. Walnuts still are relatively high priced, by historic standards, and are expected to remain relatively firm.
Wheat: The wheat market has increased on the news of poor crops coming in from South America. Also, Russia’s export policies are still uncertain. Wheat is, as always, fluctuating and uncertain.