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Mark Greenberg Capespan:

Chile's mandarin exports to US nearly double

Since Week 31, Chile has loaded an average weekly volume of almost 6,000 metric tons of late mandarins to the USEC and a weekly average of 2,700 metric tons to the USWC.  On a season over season basis, since Week 35 Chile has loaded almost twice the volume of mandarins to USEC than it did over the same period last year.  

As for South Africa and Peru, loadings of late mandarins and other soft citrus varieties have declined. South Africa is still expected to land a further 115,000 cases of late easy peelers on the USEC to complete its season. Peruvian W. Murcotts will continue to trickle in for a couple more weeks.    

In spite of recent heavy weekly arrivals, especially from Chile, the easy peeler market remains stable and robust.  Demand is good and spot or transactional prices for standard sizes 1’s, 2’s, 3’s and 4’s in a 10 x 3 lbs bagged configuration are hovering in the US$ 34 - 36 range with occasional sales at US$ 38. Size 5 mandarins in 10 x 3 lbs are trading at US$ 28 – 30. 

Program prices, while lifting in September from their mid-summer prices, continue to run a couple of dollars below the spot market. Substantial Chilean arrivals will continue through the last week of September but will decline precipitously after that as Chilean loadings begin to wind down in Week 37 and onward.  

The earliest fruit from Morocco will begin to arrive on the USEC in late October.  While this first fruit normally consists of weak varieties that present mediocre quality, its presence in the market will give retailers an opportunity to try to push down the price of the superior Chilean product.  Spain will also arrive with its first early clementines in light volume at the end of October.   

California will start to produce clementines in the third week of October with heavier volumes starting to roll east by the end of October.  So, all told, it will be a good strategy to keep Southern Hemisphere product moving so as to not be left with inventory by Week 42. 

Imported Citrus – Navel Oranges:  
The imported navel orange deal is entering its last trimester with opportunities and challenges before it.  With both Chile and South Africa coming to the end of their loading programs, and with market inventories at very manageable levels, prices are tending upward.    

While there remains some fruit left to ship from Chile, the domestic Chilean market is strong.  As a result, growers are siphoning fruit from the export channel to supply a lucrative and virtually riskless domestic market.  That means that only a limited volume of navels will depart Chile over the next three weeks.  Those that export will expect high prices for this late fruit.  

But the Chilean growers have had a good run throughout the season.  In spite of a rainy and snowy winter that resulted in a stop-and-start harvest, through Week 35 the industry has managed to load 40 802 metric tons (2.7 million cases) of navel oranges to the USEC and 22 779 metric tons (1.52 million cases) to the USEC for a combined total of 63 581 metric tons (4.24 million cases).  This represents an overall 5.9% increase over the same period last year.  Through most of the season product has been well-received and prices have been stable.  

The South African orange shipping season is also coming to a close.  Through Week 35, South Africa has landed 1.75 million cases of oranges on the USEC with a further 650 000 (mostly Midknights) to arrive over the next six weeks. 

Today, navel oranges are selling at US$ 23 – 25 (mostly US$ 24) for 40’s, 48’s and 56’s in bulk.  Smaller sizes are selling at US$ 22 – 23 in bulk.  Bagged fruit in a 9 x 3 lbs configuration is selling at US$ 22 – 24.  Of course, program fruit is a couple of dollars lower, but as we remind readers from time to time, these programs absorb a substantial volume of fruit on a regular basis and consequently strengthen the market for all players.  

The challenge is going to come in the last weeks of September when navel orange availability becomes tight.  Indeed, there may be a week or two when retailers will not have their full product demand met, especially (and perhaps ironically) their demand for small sizes in bags.  But South Africa will land some Midknight oranges in the early weeks of October which should help meet retailer needs until domestic product becomes available in early-November.   

Finally, it should be noted that on September 1, the USDA/AMS Marketing Order For Oranges went back into effect.  Accordingly, all oranges seeking clearance for entry into the US must meet the quality and condition standards set by the regulation.   

Imported Citrus – Minneolas  
Minneolas from Peru continue to be widely available on the USEC.  It is not surprising that after a relatively successful 2016 season where an arguably optimal volume of Minneolas were shipped, Peruvian shippers would load additional volume to the US market. The result is a USEC and USWC market that is markedly weaker than last season – even in spite of a much stronger navel orange and mandarin season. 

On the USEC, the Minneola market continues to languish in the US$ 11 – 13 range. On the USWC, where a lighter volume has landed and where there is no single receiver with a dominant position, the market is somewhat more robust with prices at US$ 15 – 16 with isolated sales even higher.   

Imported Citrus – Lemons  
In spite of continued concern about the health of the lemon market in the US, Chilean exporters continue to load lemons to the USEC.  Since Week 33, Chile has loaded 2 125 metric tons of lemons to an already struggling USEC. During that same period, it loaded over 3 000 metric tons to the USWC.  

On strong arrivals and with relatively heavy inventories, the lemon market continues to limp toward conclusion with 95’s and 115’s at US$ 24 - 26, 140’s and 165’s limping along at US$ 15 – 16.  If the loading statistics are to be believed,  we will have Chilean lemons to sell right through September and into October.  

For more information:
Mark A. Greenberg 
Tel: +1 (514) 739 9181
Mob: +1 (514) 688-3579

Publication date: 9/11/2017


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