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AgrarMarkt Austria: Market Report Fruits and Vegetables, March 2019

Austrian apple prices have risen slightly

Austrian apple prices have risen slightly
The wholesale prices of the main varieties Golden Delicious and Gala were able to hold their own as measured against the previous month. Conventional goods without VAT., KL I, regardless of sizing and packaging, saw an increase in value. Golden Delicious cost 0.52 EUR / kg (+8.3% on Feb.), Gala 0.59 EUR / kg (+5.3% on Feb.). At the end of the last month, the prices of Elstar and Idared varieties, among others, were under slight pressure. Market participants mentioned two factors that could have influenced this development: On the one hand problems with marketing, on the other hand occasional quality deficiencies. Over the entire month, however, these varieties were also seeing stable prices.

All in all, a clear upward trend can be noted for March. The AMA wholesale price, weighted for dessert apples KL I conventional production, across all varieties surveyed, increased from 0.56 EUR / kg to 0.59 EUR / kg compared to the previous month.

Gala and Golden Delicious admitted satisfactorily
The Austrian warehouses for conventional dessert apples had an above-average stock on 1 March, with 95,191 tons. This was 38% above the five-year average.

Diminishment (reductions that can be due to sales, but also to storage, shrinkage or spoilage) were very variety-specific. While Topaz, Granny Smith, Gala and Golden Delicious cleared between February and March, there was less demand for Evelina and Jonagold. For organic produce, Topaz was in the lead, followed by Gala. The stocks of Idared moved minimally and therefore they started March at the same level of the previous month.

European apple market remains tense
Internationally, the wholesale price of the largest European producers (IT, PL, DE, FR) remained unchanged at 55.00 EUR per 100 kgs.

According to the European Commission (as of 02.04.2019), France reported a respectable 88.00 EUR per 100 kgs with a normal harvest last year, while German producers and marketers saw a drop for the eighth month in a row with 45 EUR per 100 kgs for dessert apples. EU apple storgaes remain well-filled in the EU. Inventories of 3.1 million tonnes in March were 18.6% above the five-year average.

Export activities of the member states within the EU area are limited correspondingly, due to a lack of customer markets.

Carrot offer clear but sufficient
The domestic market for carrots was also well-balanced in March. Lower Austrian carrots, washed and packed in a 5-kg sack, were selling unchanged, with an average producer price of 47.50 Euro per 100 kgs off ramp. This corresponds to an increase of 58% compared to the price levels of last year. If commodities were available, the were sold rapidly on the European internal market.

Austrian onion trade runs smoothly
The trade in Lower Austrian onions is still running smoothly. The strong prices continued unabated in March. And they became even firmer during the month. While Lower Austrian onions -loose, cleaned and sorted in boxes- were initially being traded at 50 EUR per 100kgs, the sellers were able to raise their prices a little towards the end. 50.00 - 54.00 EUR / dt were fueled by high export prices, also inland.

Domestic potatoes are becoming scarcer
Red-white-red products disappeared during the course of March increasingly from the branches and the free shelf meters occupied imported goods. The packaging was and will partly be in Austria and therefore the differentiation to domestic products is correspondingly difficult.

The prices for small packable, wire-worm-free premium goods with AMA quality label amounted to 30 EUR per 100 kgs. How would this develop itself? Firm cooking types should be nearly gone. The stocks of "predominantly firm cooking" and "floury" are still somewhat larger. According to Lower Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, the latter, as well as organic potatoes, could last until after Easter.

AMA flowering report
In the middle to the end of March, three weeks earlier than usual, numerous apricot trees in the Wachau and Burgenland were already flowering.

In Upper Austria, apricot flowers as well as the first early cherry buds were documented two weeks earlier than in a normal year.

Due to this early flowering, frosty nights in the current weeks could be problematic, as the small fruit is very sensitive to freezing. This phenomenon worried Styrian apricot producers in the night of 21.03.2019. Happily, the effects were only small-scale and without significant impact on the total harvest.

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