Monday, October 21, 2013


TRADE: As the government reopens, FDA and Customs have started clearing their backlog. Electronically filed customs entries continued relatively smoothly during the shutdown - it was the entries requiring manual intervention that were affected. Non-exempt staff are now back at work to handle these entries although backlogs will need to be cleared before normal service standards will resume.
Port of Baltimore Strike Update: Local 333, the ILA Chapter out on strike at the Port of Baltimore last week, has called off the strike and its members have returned to work while representatives attend arbitration with employers.

CURRENCY: Further weakness for the dollar vs the euro. Latest 1.369.

The Anuga Trade Show, held every two years in Cologne, Germany, just ran from October 5-9. This show, which boasts 7,000 exhibitors from 97 countries and over 150,000 visitors from 185 countries, is considered one of the largest food shows in the world. Major manufacturers and buyers from around the world attend this show. Following is news from the show:
Tuna: Skipjack remains relatively weak at $1800-1900/mton. Albacore trades at $2450-2550. This year’s fish aggregating device (FAD) ban is scheduled to end on October 31. Weak demand in the Middle East and increased production in China are two factors affecting the soft market.

Pineapple: Indonesia’s winter crop is running short but not enough to cause concern. Thailand’s winter crop is starting two weeks late, and raw material costs are still at 5.00 baht/kg (compared to 4.00 baht/kg last year).

Mandarins: After last year’s unfavorable returns for farmers and packers, most are proceeding with caution this year. The crop is expected to run short in terms of overall quantity and duration of the packing season due to the early Chinese New Year (end January 2014; normally it’s in February). It is being reported however, that there is substantial carryover available.

Mushrooms: China is still trying unsuccessfully to recover from its pesticide issue, and no material quantities are making it to the USA. India’s biggest manufacturer is still shut out of the US market, and effectively closed down. Overall, US imports have dropped by about 24%. Most of the supply in the US is now coming from Holland, France and Spain.

Olive Oil: Initial indications are pointing to a good olive oil crop this winter. Spain’s crop is currently estimated at 1.3 to 1.5 million tons with about 250 thousand tons in carryover. Of course much of this oil will find its way to Italy.

Olives: Spanish crop is underway, after a delayed start. Government statistics show a slight volume increase in the hojiblanca crop (usually go for ripe), a slight volume decrease in manzanillas (usually small greens), and a tremendous shortage in queens (large green olives). Queen volume is down 70%. Queen prices are still not announced but some packers are talking prices two to three times what they were last season. Final pricing will undoubtedly settle at more reasonable levels, but expect significantly higher queen prices compared to last year.

Peaches: Chinese exports YTD are running 22% higher than last year, with the USA for the first time overtaking Japan to become the number one destination for Chinese peaches.