Thursday, September 26, 2013



Wednesday, September 25, 2013


The International Trade Commission issued its determination in the five-year review of the antidumping and countervailing duty order on pasta from Italy and Turkey – the orders will be continued for at least another five years.

Some weakness for the US dollar as congress debates the shutdown.  Euro trading at about 1.35

Market is surprisingly steady, especially considering that we’re in the FAD ban period (July 1-Oct 31).

The Spanish government has downgraded its initial forecast for the new crop now underway.  Quick summary of expectations: poor crop for green, good crop for ripe and oil.  In detail, for manzanillas (used primarily for green olives), they forecast a crop to 130 thousand mton, 24% below the average crop size of the past 8 year.  For queens/gordals (large green olives), they forecast under 11, 70% below the average.  For hojiblancas (ripe olives and oil), they forecast 232, 7% above the average.  Overall production including the miscellaneous varieties is forecasted to total 478, 6% below the average.  A detailed chart of all the above, including the government’s initial estimates can be found at:

Total world output is expected to come in at 33.4 million mtons, compared with 32.8 last season.  California and China are expecting lower tomato production this year compared to last.  In the EU, production is forecasted to shrink 9%. Italy is expected to produce only 4-4.2 million mtons.

The winter crop has opened to a poor start.  Raw material supply normally peaks at 7,500 mtons per day but is currently running at under 2,000.  Cost is 5.5 to 5.9 Thai baht/kilo.  Winter volume is forecasted to be 20% under 2012 primarily because of farmers switching to more profitable crops such a palms and rubber.  A chart of monthly Thai crop figures for the past eight years can be found at:

Chinese packers are primarily sold out. Statistics show Chinese exports are up 22% this year-to-date compared to last.  Greece has limited stocks to offer, but at higher prices.  In California, the situation continues to worsen; deliveries have fallen short of forecasts and according to the California Canning Peach Association, this will be the third smallest crop in 50 years with an expected volume of 364,400 short tons.  In Chile, a frost has erased hopes of help coming from the Southern Hemisphere.

Chesapeake crabbers and scientists stated that 2013 has been one of the worst years in decades for blue crab harvesting, and scientists are attributing the collapse to a murderous biological process - crab cannibalism.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


TRADE: The West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA) announced an 8.1 percent increase in the Traffic Mitigation Fee at the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Pedro, effective Aug 19, 2013. The new rates are $66.50 per 20’ container and $133 per 40’.

CURRENCY: Several Asian currencies have weakened recently versus the US dollar. The Thai baht is at its 3 year low, down 10% since May; the Malaysian ringgit has dropped 11% since May, the Philippine peso is 7% lower and the Indonesian rupiah is almost 20% lower.

TUNA: While the FAD ban period (July 1-Oct 31 this year) normally brings about a firming market, tuna raw material costs have remained remarkably stable over the past month. Daily catches have deteriorated 20-25% but slow worldwide demand and the weakened Thai baht have kept raw material costs down in the $1900-1950/mton range. Yellowfin continues to track with skipjack and trades at $2650. Tongol is flat. Albacore, after falling considerably last year, has been holding steady for the past few months at around $2700.

TOMATOES: After a delayed start, the Italian tomato crop is finally underway. Deliveries are still slow and most packers are not yet operating at full capacity due to insufficient raw material. As a result, pricing is quite firm. Packers are hoping the season may extend a bit longer in order for prices to stabilize. Unfavorable weather in Canada has packers there predicting one of the worst crop in recent years.

PINEAPPLE: There has been a decline in exports from major Asian producers in the first half of the year, mainly due to weak demand in Europe. In the USA, imports have actually increased by 11%. Winter crop will be starting soon, and initial expectations are for a normal crop of about 700-800,000 mtons in the next 4 months. The predicted raw material pricing is 5-5.8 baht/kilo with a lower than normal percentage availability of choice/fancy grade. In an ominous sign, the price of pineapple juice concentrate is up 30% since the beginning of the year.

MANDARIN ORANGES: Early reports indicate that drought conditions have affected the trees and could bring about a 30% decrease in 2013/14 output. The real situation will be clearer towards the middle of September. Over the past 5 years, the average annual exports from China were 320-350,000 mtons. The large 2011/12 crop of 430-450k mtons brought about a significant price drop last year. In 2012/13, total production was reduced to about 260-280k m/tons, and it is predicted there will be 50k mtons carryover going into the November 2013/14 crop. Of last year’s reported 337k mtons in exports, the USA market took about 170k; Japan 60k, and Europe 50k.

PEACHES: In Greece, canning will end later this week and pricing is still several dollars higher than from China. In China, the harvest finished on Aug 20 in the main growing area of Dangshan and final yield was about 30% shorter than last crop. The harvest in the second growing area in North China will finish mid-September and is estimated to be off 20%. Due to the short harvest and rising labor costs, the price of raw materials increased by 20%. Last year, China processed 600,000 mtons but the majority was for domestic consumption. The total processing yield this crop is predicted to be 450k m/tons. Exports last year were 132k mtons; 44k to USA, 37k to Japan, and 13k to Russia.

FRUIT COCKTAIL/MIX: Peaches and pears account for the majority of fruit cocktail/mix components; so fruit cocktail/mix pricing is firm. Last year, China exported 57k mtons; the USA took 16.5k; Europe 15k and Canada 7k.

APPLES: The USA is expecting a bumper 2013 apple harvest; the 12th largest in history.