Sunday, August 18, 2013


TRADE: NY/NJ ports remain backlogged.

Many Thai firms were closed last week for the Queen’s birthday. In Europe, many firms are shut down for August vacation and maintenance.

CURRENCY: further weakness for the dollar vs the euro, which now stands at about 1.335.

ASPARAGUS: According to the USDA, Peruvian asparagus production is expected to drop slightly in 2013. Peru’s asparagus production which has been constantly on an upward trend in the last 15 years, seems to have reached its peak. High local costs for fuel and fertilizer have been contributing factors. China seems to be the emerging competitor for asparagus, but is experiencing shortages at the moment.

BALSAMIC VINEGAR: Recently, hailstorms have hit the vineyards in northern Italy where it is estimated that there could be a decrease of up to 40-50% in grape production (grape must is the vital ingredient for balsamic vinegar). Farmers say that a hailstorm at this time of year comes at the worst possible time as it won’t give the plants enough time to recover before the harvest.

TOMATOES: The Italian crop is in the early stages of the harvest season. Initial reports point to inconsistent availability of raw material and a late start. Packers say that normally the season is in full swing by mid-August, but it seems this year, this will not occur until September. Furthermore, many packers are facing severe financial conditions as new laws demand quicker payment to the farmers, but Italian banks are not lending.